Photonic crystal fibre as an optofluidic reactor for the measurement of photochemical kinetics with sub-picomole sensitivity

Gareth O. S. Williams, Jocelyn S. Y. Chen, Tijmen G. Euser, Philip St J. Russell, Anita C. Jones

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Photonic crystal fibre constitutes an optofluidic system in which light can be efficiently coupled into a solution-phase sample, contained within the hollow core of the fibre, over long path-lengths. This provides an ideal arrangement for the highly sensitive monitoring of photochemical reactions by absorption spectroscopy. We report here the use of UV/vis spectroscopy to measure the kinetics of the photochemical and thermal cis-trans isomerisation of sub-picomole samples of two azo dyes within the 19-mu m diameter core of a photonic crystal fibre, over a path length of 30 cm. Photoisomerisation quantum yields are the first reported for "push-pull'' azobenzenes in solution at room temperature; such measurements are challenging because of the fast thermal isomerisation process. Rate constants obtained for thermal isomerisation are in excellent agreement with those established previously in conventional cuvette-based measurements. The high sensitivity afforded by this intra-fibre method enables measurements in solvents in which the dyes are too insoluble to permit conventional cuvette-based measurements. The results presented demonstrate the potential of photonic crystal fibres as optofluidic elements in lab-on-a-chip devices for photochemical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3356-3361
Number of pages6
JournalLab on a Chip
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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