Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Dennis Killinger, Ph.D.


Laser induced fluorescence spectroscopy, Transient saturation fluorescence spectroscopy, Fluorescence lifetime, Bacteria spore detection, Excitatin emission matrix spectra


We have investigated the use of deep UV laser induced fluorescence for the sensitive detection and spectroscopic lifetime studies of terbium doped dipicolinic acid (DPA-Tb) and used this to study the optical characteristics of DPA which is a chemical surrounding most bacterial spores. Background absorption spectra, fluorescence spectra, and Excitation Emission Matrix (EEM) spectra were made of the DPA-Tb complex, using both fixed 266 nm wavelength and tunable (220 nm --

280 nm) UV laser excitations. Of importance, the fluorescence lifetimes of the four main fluorescence peaks (488 nm, 543 nm, 581 nm, and 618 nm) of the DPA-Tb complex have been measured for the first time to our knowledge. The lifetimes of all the fluorescing lines have been measured as a function of DPA-Tb concentration, solvent pH, and solvent composition, including that for the weakest fluorescing line of DPA-Tb at 618 nm. In addition, a new spectroscopic lifetime measurement technique, which we call "Transient Fluorescence Spectroscopy" was developed. In this technique, a weak, quasi-CW, amplitude modulated UV laser (8.5 kHz) was used to measure the lifetimes of the fluorescence lines, and yields insight into energy transfer and excitation lifetimes within the system. This technique is especially useful when a high power laser is not either available or not suitable.

In the latter case, this would be when a high power pulsed deep-UV laser could produce bleaching or destruction of the biological specimen. In addition, this technique simulated the excitation and fluorescence emission of the DPA-Tb using a 4-level energy model, and solved the dynamic transient rate equations to predict the temporal behavior of the DPA-Tb emitted fluorescence. Excellent agreement between the experiments and the simulation were found. This technique has the potential to provide a more accurate value for the fluorescence lifetime values. In addition, with the use of asymmetric excitation waveforms, the dynamic transient rate equation analysis may allow for detailed studies of selected transfer mechanisms in a wide range of other spectroscopic applications including rare-earth solid-state lasing materials and biological samples.