Power-law blinking in the fluorescence of single organic molecules

Jacob P. Hoogenboom, Jordi Hernando, Erik M.H.P. Van Dijk, Niek F. Van Hulst, Maria F. García-Parajó

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86 Citations (Scopus)


The blinking behavior of perylene diïmide molecules is investigated at the single-molecule level. We observe long-time scale blinking of individual multi-chromophoric complexes embedded in a poly(methylmethacrylate) matrix, as well as for the monomeric dye absorbed on a glass substrate at ambient conditions. In both these different systems, the blinking of single molecules is found to obey analogous power-law statistics for both the on and off periods. The observed range for single-molecular power-law blinking extends over the full experimental time window, covering four orders of magnitude in time and six orders of magnitude in probability density. From molecule to molecule, we observe a large spread in off-time power-law exponents. The distributions of off-exponents in both systems are markedly different whereas both on-exponent distributions appear similar. Our results are consistent with models that ascribe the power-law behavior to charge separation and (environment-dependent) recombination by electron tunneling to a dynamic distribution of charge acceptors. As a consequence of power-law statistics, single molecule properties like the total number of emitted photons display nonergodicity. © 2007 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)823-833
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2007


  • Blinking
  • Charge transfer
  • Fluorescence
  • Power-law statistics
  • Single-molecule studies


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