Dipyridophenazine complexes of Ru(II): Versatile optical sensors for small and large molecules

Catherine J. Murphy, Rajesh B. Nair, Caroline E. Keller, Emily S. Teng, Charles Pollard

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Bis(phenanthroline)dipyridophenazineruthenium(II), [(Ru(phen) 2dppz]2+, exhibits unusual optical properties compared to other derivatives of [Ru(bpy)3]2+. [Ru(phen) 2dppz]2+ does not exhibit photoluminescence in water, but does emit brightly at approximately 610 nm in the presence of nonaqueous solvents or hydrated polymers like DNA and Nafion. We have observed this "light switch" effect upon binding [Ru(phen)2dppz] 2+ to a protein with a hydrophobic pocket (chymotrypsin), suggesting that we may be able to develop optical probes of protein tertiary structure. We have also prepared derivatives of [Ru(phen)2dppz]2+ that have ancillary ligands other than phenanthroline, and find that these molecules change color upon exposure to small molecules; the environmental parameters we have been able to assess so far include Lewis acidity, the nature of hydrated counterions, polarity, and hydrogen-based donation ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-478
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes
EventAdvances in Fluorescence Sensing Technology III - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 9 1997Feb 9 1997


  • Dipyridophenazine
  • Luminescence
  • Optical sensor
  • Ruthenium
  • Solvatochromism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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