Plasmonic-based instrument response function for time-resolved fluorescence: toward proper lifetime analysis

Radosław Szlazak, Krzysztof Tutaj, Wojciech Grudziński, Wiesław I. Gruszecki, Rafał Luchowski

In this report, we investigated the so-called plasmonic platforms prepared to target ultra-short fluorescence and accurate instrumental response function in a time-domain spectroscopy and microscopy. The interaction of metallic nanoparticles with nearby fluorophores results in the increase of the dye fluorescence quantum yield, photostability and decrease of the lifetime parameter. The mentioned properties of platforms were applied to achieve a picosecond fluorescence lifetime (21 ps) of erythrosin B, used later as a better choice for deconvolution of fluorescence decays measured with “color” sensitive photo-detectors. The ultra-short fluorescence standard based on combination of thin layers of silver film, silver colloidal nanoparticles (about 60 nm in diameter), and top layer of erythrosin B embedded in 0.2 % poly(vinyl) alcohol. The response functions were monitored on two photo-detectors; microchannel plate photomultiplier and single photon avalanche photodiode as a Rayleigh scattering and ultra-short fluorescence. We demonstrated that use of the plasmonic base fluorescence standard as an instrumental response function results in the absence of systematic error in lifetime measurements and analysis.