Laser-induced phosphorescence has been used extensively to study spray dynamics. It is important to understand the influence of droplet evaporation in the interpretation of such measurements, as it increases luminescence quenching. By suspending a single evaporating n-heptane droplet in an acoustic levitator, the properties of lanthanide-complex europium-thenoyltrifluoroacetone-trioctylphosphine oxide (Eu-TTA-TOPO) phosphorescence are determined through high-speed imaging. A decrease was found in the measured phosphorescence decay coefficient (780 → 200 μs) with decreasing droplet volumes (10^-9 → 10^-11 m3) corresponding to increasing concentrations (10^-4 → 10^-2 M). This decrease continues up to the point of shell-formation at supersaturated concentrations. The diminished luminescence is shown not to be attributed to triplet-triplet annihilation, quenching between excited triplet-state molecules. Instead, the pure exponential decays found in the measurements show that a non-phosphorescent quencher, such as free TTA/TOPO, can be attributed to this decay. The concentration dependence of the phosphorescence lifetime can therefore be used as a new diagnostic of evaporation in sprays.
van der Voort, D. D., Dam, N. J., Sweep, A. M., Kunnen, R. P. J., van Heijst, G. J. F., Clercx, H. J. H., & van de Water, W. (2016). Decreasing luminescence lifetime of evaporating phosphorescent droplets. Applied Physics Letters, 109(23), . https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4971987, https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4971987