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Research Abstracts Online
January 2008 - March 2009

University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Institute of Technology
Department of Chemistry

PI: Valerie C. Pierre

Modeling Lanthanide Sensors

The Pierre laboratory is interested in the development of lanthanide complexes as responsive sensors for the detection of several small molecules of biological interest. The targeted analytes include alkali ion, physiological anions and nucleotides, and reactive oxygen species (singlet oxygen, hydroxyl radical, nitric oxide, etc.). This project is designed to make an accurate model of the geometry of the molecule, both free and bound to its substrate, in order to design the most responsive sensors (the geometry of the molecule and especially the distance separating the chromophore to the lanthanide ion are crucial to the effectiveness of these sensors). The researcher is also modeling the energy level of both the triplet and the singlet excited states of the organic chromophore linked to the lanthanide. It is the relative energy of these excited states, relative to that of the lanthanide ion, that determines how efficient the energy transfer between the two moieties are, and in turn how bright the luminescent probe will be.