Enhanced Singlet Oxygen Generation from a Porphyrin–Rhodamine B Dyad by Two-Photon Excitation through Resonance Energy Transfer


Corresponding author email: youngjae-you@ouhsc.edu (Youngjae You) and xingzhong.yan@sdstate.edu (Xingzhong Yan)


Mitochondrial-targeting photosensitizers have been associated with effective photodynamic responses. However, most photosensitizers absorb light between 400 and 700 nm, where light penetration through tissues is limited. Two-photon excitation is a rational approach to improve light penetration through tissues. In this report, the two-photon photophysical properties of a porphyrin–rhodamine B conjugate (TPP-Rh), previously demonstrated to target the mitochondria, were evaluated. The properties studied included: two-photon absorption (TPA) cross sections (σ2); resonance energy transfer (RET) kinetics and dynamics; and singlet oxygen generation. The conjugation of Rh B to TPP-OH approximately doubled the σ2 of TPP-Rh at 800 nm (40 ± 4 GM) compared with the parent porphyrin, TPP-OH (16 ± 4 GM). Furthermore, the rate of DPBF oxidation by singlet oxygen generated from TPP-Rh was twice as fast compared with that from TPP-OH (73 % versus 33% in 10 min) following two-photon excitation at 800 nm. In addition, a significantly stronger luminescence signal was detected from TPP-Rh, than from TPP-OH at 1270 nm, following two-photon excitation. This study indicates that conjugating photosensitizers to Rh B could provide greater TPA at the near-infrared range in addition to preferential mitochondrial accumulation for improved photodynamic responses.