Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America vol:100 issue:23 pages:13146-13151
We demonstrate measurements of the efficiency of competing Forster-type energy-transfer pathways in single bichromophoric systems by monitoring simultaneously the fluorescence intensity, fluorescence lifetime, and the number of independent emitters with time. Peryleneimide end-capped fluorene trimers, hexamers, and polymers with interchromophore distances of 3.4, 5.9, and on average 42 nm, respectively, served as bichromophoric systems. Because of different energy-transfer efficiencies, variations in the interchromophore distance enable the switching between homo-energy transfer (energy hopping), singlet-singlet annihilation, and singlet-triplet annihilation. The data suggest that similar energy-transfer pathways have to be considered in the analysis of single-molecule trajectories of donor/acceptor pairs as well as in natural and synthetic multichromophoric systems such as light-harvesting antennas, oligomeric fluorescent proteins, and dendrimers. Here we report selectively visualization of different energy-transfer pathways taking place between identical fluorophores in individual bichromophoric molecules.