Fluorescence Quantum Yield Standards for the UV/Visible/NIR: Development, Traceable Characterization, and Certification

Anal Chem. 2023 Apr 4;95(13):5671-5677. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.2c05530. Epub 2023 Mar 15.


The rational design of next generation molecular and nanoscale reporters and the comparison of different emitter classes require the determination of the fluorometric key performance parameter fluorescence quantum yield (Φf), i.e., the number of emitted photons per number of absorbed photons. Main prerequisites for reliable Φf measurements, which are for transparent luminophore solutions commonly done relative to a reference, i.e., a fluorescence quantum yield standard of known Φf, are reliable and validated instrument calibration procedures to consider wavelength-, polarization-, and time-dependent instrument specific signal contributions, and sufficiently well characterized fluorescence quantum yield standards. As the standard's Φf value directly contributes to the calculation of the sample's Φf, its accuracy presents one of the main sources of uncertainty of relative Φf measurements. To close this gap, we developed a first set of 12 fluorescence quantum yield standards, which absorb and emit in the wavelength region of 330-1000 nm and absolutely determined their Φf values with two independently calibrated integrating sphere setups. Criteria for standard selection and the configuration of these novel fluorescence reference materials are given, and the certification procedure is presented including homogeneity and stability studies and the calculation of complete uncertainty budgets for the certified Φf values. The ultimate goal is to provide the community of fluorescence users with available reference materials as a basis for an improved comparability and reliability of quantum yield data since the measurement of this spectroscopic key property is an essential part of the characterization of any new emitter.