Abstract: Tuning the pKa of Fluorescent Rhodamine pH Probes via Substituent Effects


My name is Sarah Stratton and I am a junior chemistry major. I have been working in Professor Harbron’s research lab since the fall of my freshman year, where I have been studying rhodamine dyes which fluoresce in acid. Specifically, we have been modifying the structure of these dyes to determine how the size and electronic properties of the molecule impact the pH at which the molecule fluoresces. This project has also been lovingly referred to as the “pink project” because the rhodamine derivatives I work with are clear in basic solutions and bright pink in acidic ones. Having stained various surfaces in the lab as well as some articles of clothing, I can personally attest to the tenacity and eye-popping color of these dyes!

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