Biophys. J. 2004 86, 3223-9.

Multiphoton-Excited Serotonin Photochemistry

M. L. Gostkowski, R. Allen, M. L. Plenert, E. Okerberg, M. J. Gordon, J. B. Shear

We report photochemical and photophysical studies of a multiphoton-excited reaction of serotonin that previously has been shown to generate a photoproduct capable of emitting broadly in the visible spectral region. The current studies demonstrate that absorption of near-infrared light by an intermediate state prepared via three-photon absorption enhances the photoproduct formation yield, with the largest action cross sections ( approximately 10(-19) cm(2)) observed at the short-wavelength limit of the titanium:sapphire excitation source. The intermediate state is shown to persist for at least tens of nanoseconds and likely to be different from a previously reported oxygen-sensitive intermediate. In addition, the two-photon fluorescence action spectrum for the fluorescent photoproduct was determined and found to have a maximum at approximately 780 nm (3.2 eV). A general mechanism for this photochemical process is proposed.

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