DNA-Templated formation and luminescence of diphenylacetylene dimeric and trimeric complexes

Robert L. Letsinger, Taifeng Wu, Jye Shane Yang, Frederick D. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We report on spectral features for two and three diphenylacetylene chromophores aligned in close proximity in aqueous solution by self assembly of attached oligonucleotide arms. Two duplex systems were examined in detail. One was formed by hybridization (Watson-Crick base pairing) of two oligonucleotide 10-mers, each containing the diphenylacetylene insert. The other was generated by self-folding of a 36-mer oligonucleotide containing two diphenylacetylene inserts. The triplex system was obtained by hybridization (Hoogsteen base pairing) of a 16-mer oligonucleotide diphenylacetylene conjugate to the folded 36-mer hairpin. Formation of duplex and triplex entities from these conjugates was demonstrated experimentally by thermal dissociation and spectroscopic studies. The UV and CD spectra for the duplex systems exhibit bands in the 300-350 nm region attributable to exciton coupling between the two chromophores, and the emission spectra show a strong band centered at 410 nm assigned to excimer fluorescence. Addition of the third strand to the hairpin duplex has little effect on the CD spectrum in the 300-350 nm region, but leads to a negative band at short wavelengths characteristic of a triplex and to a strongly enhanced band at 410 nm in the fluorescence spectrum. The third strand alone shows a broad fluorescence band at ∼345-365 nm, but this band is virtually absent in the triplex system. A model for the triplex system is proposed in which two of the three aligned diphenylacetylenes function as a ground state dimer that on excitation gives rise to the exciton coupling observed in the UV and CD spectra and to the excimer emission observed in the fluorescence spectrum. Excitation of the third chromophore results in enhanced excimer fluorescence, as a consequence of energy transfer from the locally excited singlet of one chromophore to the ground state dimer formed by the other two chromophores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)854-859
Number of pages6
JournalPhotochemical and Photobiological Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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