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Pure Appl. Chem., 2002, Vol. 74, No. 9, pp. 1731-1738

Photochemistry of chromophore-functionalized gold nanoparticles

K. George Thomas*, Binil Itty Ipe and P. K. Sudeep

Photochemistry Research Unit, Regional Research Laboratory (CSIR), Trivandrum-695019, India

Abstract: It is generally believed that metal nanoparticles strongly quench the singlet-excited states of chromophores when attached to nanoparticle surfaces, through an energy-transfer mechanism, which limits their application in optoelectronic devices and photonic materials. Recent studies of fluorophore-linked metal nanoparticles reveal that there is a dramatic suppression in the quenching of the singlet-excited state of these molecules and they possess unusual photophysical properties. A summary of our work on the photophysical and excited-state properties of chromophore-functionalized gold nanoparticles is presented in this article. Pyrene-capped gold nanoparticles showed normal fluorescence in nonpolar solvents and an intermolecular excimer formation at higher loadings. The quenching of the emission, observed in pyrene-labeled gold nanoparticles in polar solvents, is attributed to the formation of pyrene radical cation through a photoinduced electron-transfer process. We have also functionalized gold nanoparticles using a thiol derivative of fullerene. The quenching of fluorescence and decreased yields of triplet-excited state, observed in these systems, are attributed to an energy-transfer process.