Ultraviolet absorption and luminescence of matrix-isolated adenine

Krzysztof Polewski, David Zinger, John Trunk, John C. Sutherland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We have investigated the absorption, the fluorescence and phosphorescence emission and the fluorescence lifetimes of adenine in low-temperature argon and nitrogen matrices at 15. K. Compared to other environments the absorption spectrum shows higher intensity at the shortest wavelengths, and a weak apparent absorption peak is observed at 280. nm. The resolved fluorescence excitation spectrum has five peaks at positions corresponding to those observed in the absorption spectrum. The position of the fluorescence maximum depends on the excitation wavelength. Excitation below 220. nm displays a fluorescence maximum at 305. nm, while for excitations at higher wavelengths the maximum occurs at 335. nm. The results suggest that multiple-emission excited electronic states are populated in low-temperature gas matrices. Excitation at 265. nm produces a phosphorescence spectrum with a well-resolved vibrational structure and a maximum at 415. nm. The fluorescence decays corresponding to excitation at increasing energy of each resolved band could be fit with a double exponential, with the shorter and longer lifetimes ranging from 1.7 to 3.3. ns and from 12 to 23. ns, respectively. Only for the excitation at 180. nm one exponential is required, with the calculated lifetimes of 3.3. ns. The presented results provide an experimental evidence of the existence of multiple site-selected excited electronic states, and may help elucidate the possible deexcitation pathways of adenine. The additional application of synchrotron radiation proved to result in a significant enhancement of the resolution and spectral range of the phenomena under investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1092-1098
Number of pages7
JournalRadiation Physics and Chemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Absorption
  • Adenine
  • Fluorescence
  • Fluorescence lifetimes
  • Matrix isolation
  • Phosphorescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation


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