Letter | Published:

Reversible Quenching by Oxygen of the Fluorescence of Polycyclic Hydrocarbons

Naturevolume 149page528 (1942) | Download Citation



IN their recent letter in NATURE1, Drs. H. Weil-Malherbe and J. Weiss have overlooked the work of Bowen and Williams2, in which the reversible quenching by oxygen of the fluorescence of solutions of fifteen aromatic hydrocarbons was measured. The fluorescence of naphthalene was found to be quenched at least as powerfully as the 3: 4 benzpyrene to which attention is directed. The absolute fluorescence efficiencies of the hydrocarbon solutions were compared with the absolute rates of oxidation, and it was found that for naphthalene, anthracene, rubrene, etc., the permanent oxidation was much less than corresponded to the quenching effect, proving that a reversible dissociation of the quenching complex hydrocarbon - oxygen into the original molecules must occur. The general relations between fluorescence quenching and actual photo-oxidation by oxygen appeared to be of a very complex nature.

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  1. 1

    NATURE, 149, 471 (1942).

  2. 2

    Trans. Faraday Soc., 35, 765 (1939).

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  1. Physical Chemistry Laboratory, South Parks Road, Oxford

    • E. J. BOWEN


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