Modeling the nonradiative decay rate of electronically excited thioflavin T

Yuval Erez, Yu Hui Liu, Nadav Amdursky, Dan Huppert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


A computational model of nonradiative decay is developed and applied to explain the time-dependent emission spectrum of thioflavin T (ThT). The computational model is based on a previous model developed by Glasbeek and co-workers (van der Meer, M. J.; Zhang, H.; Glasbeek, M. J. Chem. Phys.2000, 112, 2878) for auramine O, a molecule that, like ThT, exhibits a high nonradiative rate. The nonradiative rates of both auramine O and ThT are inversely proportional to the solvent viscosity. The Glasbeek model assumes that the excited state consists of an adiabatic potential surface constructed by adiabatic coupling of emissive and dark states. For ThT, the twist angle between the benzothiazole and the aniline is responsible for the extensive mixing of the two excited states. At a twist angle of 90°, the S 1 state assumes a charge-transfer-state character with very small oscillator strength, which causes the emission intensity to be very small as well. In the ground state, the twist angle of ThT is rather small. The photoexcitation leads first to a strongly emissive state (small twist angle). As time progresses, the twist angle increases and the oscillator strength decreases. The fit of the experimental results by the model calculations is good for times longer than 3 ps. When a two-coordinate model is invoked or a solvation spectral-shift component is added, the fit to the experimental results is good at all times.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8479-8487
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number30
StatePublished - 4 Aug 2011


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