Predicting nonradiative decay barrier of BODIPY dye in polar environment by applying ONIOM multiscale method

  • D. Narkevičius
  • S. Toliautas
Keywords: fluorescent probes, molecular rotors, BODIPY, DFT, ONIOM


Fluorescent molecular sensors are widely used in biological research. They allow straightforward viscosity, temperature or polarity measurements at the microscopic level, including live cells. Maps of desired physical properties can be obtained by applying fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) to cells.

One of the most important properties of a cell is viscosity, as it affects other parameters, such as the rate of biochemical reactions and particle diffusion. Boron-dipyrromethene (BODIPY) compounds are widely used for viscosity measurements, but current variants have the undesirable sensitivity to polarity, and more suitable alternatives are being sought using theoretical computations. The polarizable continuum model (PCM) used in previous studies did not adequately take into account the influence of the polar environment when calculating the BODIPY activation energy associated with polarity sensitivity.

After applying the multilayer ONIOM method in polar and non-polar environments, the calculated maximum wavelengths of the fluorescence spectra of the 8PhBODIPY compound were closer to the experimental results compared to PCM. The activation energy was also calculated, its value in polar and non-polar environments qualitatively corresponded to the experimental results, and the quantitative agreement was reached using the empirical correction.

Atoms and Molecules