Photoacid generators, two-photon absorption, optical data storage, stimulated emission depletion, fluorescence, microfabrication


Two-photon absorption (2PA) has been used for a number of scientific and technological applications, exploiting the fact that the 2PA probability is directly proportional to the square of the incident light intensity (while one-photon absorption bears a linear relation to the incident light intensity). This intrinsic property of 2PA leads to 3D spatial localization, important in fields such as optical data storage, fluorescence microscopy, and 3D microfabrication. The spatial confinement that 2PA enables has been used to induce photochemical and photophysical events in increasingly smaller volumes and allowed nonlinear, 2PA-based, technologies to reach sub-diffraction limit resolutions. The primary focus of this dissertation is the development of novel, efficient 2PA, fluorene-based molecules to be used either as photoacid generators (PAGs) or fluorophores. A second aim is to develop more effective methods of synthesizing these compounds. As a third and final objective, the new molecules were used to develop a write-once-read many (WORM) optical data storage system, and stimulated emission depletion probes for bioimaging. In Chapter I, the microwave-assisted synthesis of triarylsulfonium salt photoacid generators (PAGs) from their diphenyliodonium counterparts is reported. The microwave-assisted synthesis of these novel sulfonium salts afforded reaction times 90 to 420 times faster than conventional thermal conditions, with photoacid quantum yields of new sulfonium PAGs ranging from 0.01 to 0.4. These PAGs were used to develop a fluorescence readout-based, nonlinear three-dimensional (3D) optical data storage system (Chapter II). In this system, writing was achieved by acid generation upon two-photon absorption (2PA) of a PAG (at 710 or 730 nm). Readout was then performed by interrogating two-photon absorbing dyes, after protonation, at 860 nm. Two-photon recording and readout of voxels was demonstrated in five and eight consecutive, crosstalk-free layers within a polymer matrix, generating a data storage capacity of up to 1.8 x 1013 bits/cm3. The possibility of using these PAGs in microfabrication is described in Chapter III, where two-photon induced cationic ring-opening polymerization (CROP) crosslinking of an SU8 resin is employed to produce free-standing microstructures. Chapter IV describes the investigation of one- and two-photon stimulated emission transitions by the fluorescence quenching of a sulfonyl-containing fluorene compound in solution at room temperate using a picosecond pump-probe technique. The nature of stimulated transitions under various fluorescence excitation and quenching conditions were analyzed theoretically, and good agreement with experimental data was demonstrated. Two-photon stimulated transitions S1 to S0 were shown at 1064 nm. The two-photon stimulated emission cross section of the sulfonyl fluorophore was estimated as aproximately 240 - 280 GM, making this compound a good candidate for use in two-photon stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy.


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Graduation Date



Belfield, Kevin


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program









Release Date

February 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Chemistry Commons