Hydrogen bonding effects on the fluorescence properties of 4′-diethylamino-3-hydroxyflavone in water and water-acetone mixtures

Dóra Hessz, Márton Bojtár, Dávid Mester, Zoltán Szakács, I. Bitter, M. Kállay, M. Kubinyi

Research output: Article

3 Citations (Scopus)


The fluorescence properties of 4′-diethylamino-3-hydroxyflavone (FET), a dye probe sensitive to the polarity as well as the hydrogen bonding ability of its environment, have been studied in acetone-water mixtures by measuring spectra and decay curves over the whole composition range and analyzing the results on the basis of theoretical calculations. In acetone, like in most of organic solvents, the dye showed dual fluorescence, due to an excited state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT), in which a quasi-equilibrium between the two excited species, N* and T*, was reached. In acetone-water mixtures with lower molar fractions of water, where the water molecules are largely dispersed, only one type of hydrate could be detected, a complex with 1:1 composition, showing only N* emission, but with a high (0.45) fluorescence quantum yield. At higher water concentrations, the interaction of FET with the hydrogen-bonded water clusters resulted in fluorescence quenching. In neat water the fluorescence quantum yield fell to ~0.001. Theoretical calculations on a FET-acetone complex, a FET-water complex and a FET-water-acetone triple complex (the latter as model for the samples with low water concentrations) concluded that ESIPT was energetically favored in all the models, but the E(N*)-E(T*) energy difference for the water complexes was much lower. The kinetic barrier of ESIPT was found greatly higher in the FET-water complex than in the isolated solute. The intermolecular hydrogen bonds in the water complexes became significantly stronger following the excitation, stabilizing the N* form of the hydrated dye.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-105
Number of pages10
JournalSpectrochimica Acta - Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy
Publication statusPublished - okt. 5 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Spectroscopy

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