Polycyclic aromatic compounds, Laser-excited time-resolved Shpol'skii spectroscopy, Solid liquid exctraction, Dibenzopyrene, Fluoroquinolones


Polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs), which comprise a complex class of condensed multi-ring benzenoid compounds, are important environmental pollutants originating from a wide variety of natural and anthropogenic sources. PACs are generally formed during incomplete combustion of pyrolisis of organic matter containing carbon and hydrogen. Because combustion of organic materials is involved in countless natural processes or human activities, PACs are omnipresent and abundant pollutants in air, soil, and water. Chemical analysis of PACs is of great environmental and toxicological importance. Many of them are highly suspect as etiological agents in human cancer. Because PACs carcinogenic properties strongly depend on molecular structure and differ significantly from isomer to isomer, it is of paramount importance to determine the most toxic isomers even if they are present at much lower concentrations than their less toxic isomers. Gas chromatography (GC), high-resolution GC, and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) are the basis for standard PACs identification and determination. Many cases exist where GC, HPLC, and even HR-GC have not been capable to provide unambiguous isomer identification. The lack of reliable analytical data has lead to serious errors in environmental and toxicological studies. This dissertation deals with the development of novel instrumentation and analytical methods for the analysis of PACs in environmental samples. The developed methodology is based on two well-known high-resolution luminescence techniques, namely Shpol'skii Spectroscopy (SS) and Fluorescence Line Narrowing Spectroscopy (FLNS). Although these two techniques have long been recognized for their capability in providing direct determination of target PACs in complex environmental samples, several reasons have hampered their widespread use for the problem at hand. These include inconvenient sample freezing procedures; questions about signal reproducibility; lengthy spectral acquisition, which might cause severe sample degradation due to prolonged excitation; broadband fluorescence background that degrades quality of spectra, precision of measurements and detection limits; solvent constrains imposed by the need of optically transparent media; and, most importantly, the lack of selectivity and sensitivity for unambiguous determination of closely related PACs metabolites. This dissertation presents significant advances on all fronts. The analytical methodology is then extended to the analysis of fluoroquinolones (FQs) in aqueous samples. FQs are one of the most powerful classes of antibiotics currently used for the treatment of urinary tract infections. Their widespread use in both human and animal medicine has prompted their appearance in aquatic systems. The search for a universal method capable to face this new environmental challenge has been centered on HPLC. Depending on the FQ and its concentration level, successful determination has been accomplished with mass spectrometry, room-temperature fluorescence (RTF) or UV absorption spectrometry. Unfortunately, no single detection mode has shown the ability to detect all FQ at the concentration ratios found in environmental waters. We provide a feasible alternative based on FLNS. On the instrumentation side, we present a single instrument with the capability to collect multidimensional data formats in both the fluorescence and the phosphorescence time domains. We demonstrate the ability to perform luminescence measurements in highly scattering media by comparing the precision of measurements in optically transparent solvents (Shpol'skii solvents) to those obtained in "snow-like" matrixes and solid samples. For decades, conventional low-temperature methodology has been restricted to optically transparent media. This restriction has limited its application to organic solvents that freeze into a glass. In this dissertation, we remove this limitation with the use of cryogenic fiber-optic probes. Our final efforts deal with low-temperature absorption measurements. Recording absorption spectra via transmittance through frozen matrixes is a challenging task. The main reason is the difficulty to overcome the strong scattering light reaching the detector. This is particularly true when thick samples are necessary for recording absorption spectra of weak oscillators. In the case of strongly fluorescent compounds, additional errors in absorbance measurements arise from the emission reaching the detector, which might have comparable intensity to that of the transmitted light. We present a fundamentally different approach to low-temperature absorption measurements as the sought-for-information is the intensity of laser excitation returning from the frozen sample to the intensified-charge coupled device (ICCD). Laser excitation is collected with the aid of a cryogenic fiber optic probe. The feasibility of our approach is demonstrated with single-site and multiple-site Shpol'skii systems. 4.2K absorption spectra show excellent agreement to their literature counterparts recorded via transmittance with closed cycle cryogenators. Fluorescence quantum yields measured at room-temperature compare well to experimental data acquired in our lab via classical methodology. Similar agreement is observed between 77K fluorescence quantum yields and previously reported data acquired with classical methodology. We then extend our approach to generate original data on fluorescence quantum yields at 4.2K.


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Campiglia, Andres


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



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Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

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