Selective Inner-Filter on the Fluorescence Response of Chlorophyll and Pheophytin Molecules Extracted from Caesalpinia echinata Leaves

Photophysical processes in multicomponent solutions composed by natural pigments, extracted from Caesalpinia echinata (Brazil-wood) leaves, are investigated. Beacuse of the main fluorescent molecules in these solutions are the chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b and pheophytin a, all features are discussed regarding these three pigments. It is observed that the fluorescence bands of these macrocyclic molecules, located around ca. 673 nm, are progressively quenched due to the increase of the solutions’ concentration. Due to a significant overlapping between their fluorescence and absorption Q-bands, it is concluded that the inner-filter effect causes such quenching. Through analysis of steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence, it is verified that the inner filter acts more effectively on the emission assigned to chlorophyll a. Invoking reported extinction coefficients for these pigments in their isolated forms, we can give a qualitative interpretation of such selectivity considering the effectiveness of the overlapping between the absorption and fluorescence bands.