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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Dr Lars-Olof Pålsson

Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42135

(email at

Research Interests

Chemical physics and biophysics. I am interested in the application of optical spectroscopy and microscopy for investigations of biological systems and organic materials for display applications, molecular electronics and sensing of the biological environment. The work is interdisciplinary and relies on collaborations with colleagues active in synthetic chemistry and cell biology.

Modulation of the excited state by the di-electric medium

We are interested in how the medium affects the excited state decay and this is monitored using mainly time-resolved emission techniques. The aim of this work is to explore the sensing ability in organic chromophores and organo metallic complexes. 

Luminescence imaging and time-resolved emission microscopy

We are using luminescence imaging to study bio-active materials using emissive probes. The excited state decay of organic fluorescence probes and organo metallic complexes is monitored using time-resolved luminescence microscopy.

Time-gated detection is illustrated above. In the experiment the short lived fluorescence from the matrix has decayed before the gate is turned on and the photoluminescence from the metal centered emission is exclusively monitored. In combination we are also using conventional photon counting techniques to study the organic fluorescence. We are using microscope detection enabling single cells to be studied. We can study the excited state decay of many different types of emissive probes over a very wide dynamic range over 100 orders of magnitude.

Polarised luminescence spectroscopy for molecular recognition and sensing.

We are pursuing circularity polarised luminescence spectroscopy as a tool to study biological systems. This methodology can be used to investigate stereo specific inter-molecular interactions between functionalised optical probes and chiral biological macromolecules such as proteins.



  • Anil Suri, Rui Campos, Darius G. Rackus, Nicholas J.S. Spiller, Christine Richardson, Lars-Olof Pålsson and Ritu Kataky (2011). Liposome-doped hydrogel for implantable tissue. Soft Matter. 7, 7071-7077.
  • Lisa Murphy,Aileen Congreve,Lars-Olof Pålssonand J. A. Gareth Williams (2010). The time domain in co-stained cell imaging: time-resolved emission imaging microscopy using a protonatable luminescent iridium complex. Chem. Comm. 43, 8743 - 8745.
  • Lars-Olof Pålsson, Benjamin S. Nehls, Frank Galbrecht, Benjamin A. Coombs, Fernando B. Dias, Tony Farrell, Ullrich Scherf, and Andrew P. Monkman (2010). Excited state dynamics and optical characteristics of oligophenyl based cruci forms in solution and solid state. J. of Phys. Chem. B, 114(40), 12765 - 12776.
  • Lars-Olof Pålsson, Changsheng Wang, Andrei S. Batsanov, Simon M. King, Andrew Beeby, Andrew P. Monkman and Martin R. Bryce (2009). Intramolecular charge transfer in molecular wires comprised Oligoyne-Bridged Oxadiazol-Triphenylamine Dipoles: Synthesis, x-Ray Crystal Structure, Solution Electrochemistry and opto-electronic properties. Chem. Eur. J. 16, 1470-1479.
  • Evan G. Moore, Géza Szigethy, Jide Xu, Lars-Olof Pålsson, Andrew Beeby and Kenneth N. Raymond (2008). 3,2-HOPO Complexes of Near Infra-Red (NIR) Emitting Lanthanides: Sensitization of Ho(III) and Pr(III) in Aqueous Solution. Angewandte Chemie Interdit. 47, 9500-9503.
  • Lars-Olof Pålsson, Robert Pal, Benjamin S. Murray, David Parker and Andrew Beeby (2007) Two-photon absorption and photoluminescence of europium based emissive probes for bioactive systems. J. of Dalton Trans. 2007, 5726-5734.

Research Groups

Department of Biosciences

  • Durham Centre for Bioimaging Technology

Department of Chemistry

  • Functional Molecules and Materials

Research Interests

  • Chemical Physics
  • Biophysics
  • Optical Spectroscopy

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

  • Palsson, Lars-Olof, Spangfort, Michael, Gulbinas, Vidmantas & Gillbro, Tomas (1993). Chlorophyll b to chlorophyll a energy transfer in the isolated light-harvesting complex II, LHC II, of green plants. In Laser Spectroscopy of Biomolecules: 4th International Conference on Laser Applications in Life Sciences. Korppi-Tommola, Jouko E. SPIE. 1921: 107-110.
  • Sharkov, A. V., Khoroshilov, E. V., Kryukov, I. V., Palsson, Lars-Olof, Kryukov, P. G., Fischer, R., Scheer, Hella-C. & Gillbro, Tomas (1993). Femtosecond excitation transfer processes in biliprotein trimers. In Laser Spectroscopy of Biomolecules: 4th International Conference on Laser Applications in Life Sciences. Korppi-Tommola, Jouko E. 1921: 136-145.

Journal Article

  • Jõgela, Joana, Uri, Asko, Pålsson, Lars-Olof & Enkvist, Erki (2019). Almost complete radiationless energy transfer from excited triplet state of a dim phosphor to a covalently linked adjacent fluorescent dye in purely organic tandem luminophores doped into PVA matrix. Journal of Materials Chemistry C 7(22): 6571-6577.
  • Townsend, P.D., Dixon, C.H., Slootweg, E.S., Sukarta O.C.A., Yang, A.W.H., Hughes, T.R., Sharples, G.J., Palsson, L.-O., Takken, F.L.W., Goverse, A. & Cann, M.J. (2018). The intracellular immune receptor Rx1 regulates the DNA-binding activity of a Golden2-like transcription factor. The Journal of Biological Chemistry 293(9): 3218-3233.
  • Foster, A.W., Pernil, R., Patterson, C.J., Scott, A.J.P., Pålsson, L.-O., Pal, R., Cummins, I., Chivers, P.T., Pohl, E. & Robinson, N.J. (2017). A tight tunable range for Ni(II) sensing and buffering in cells. Nature Chemical Biology 13(4): 409-414.
  • Sansee, A., Meksawangwong, S., Chainok, K., Franz, K. J., Gal, M., Palsson, L. -O., Puniyan, W., Traiphol, R., Pal, R. & Kielar, F. (2016). Novel aminoalkyl tris-cyclometalated iridium complexes as cellular stains. Dalton Transactions 45(43): 17420-17430.
  • Fenyk, S., Dixon, C.H., Kittens, W.H., Townsend, P.D., Sharpies, G.J., Pålsson, L.-O., Takken, F.L.W. & Cann, M.J. (2016). The tomato Nucleotide-Binding Leucine-Rich Repeat (NLR) Immune Receptor I-2 couples DNA-Binding to Nucleotide-Binding Domain Nucleotide Exchange. Journal of Biological Chemistry 291(3): 1137-1147.
  • Neil, E.R., Fox, M.A., Pal, R., Pålsson, L.O., O'Sullivan, B.A. & Parker, D. (2015). Chiral probe development for circularly polarised luminescence: comparative study of structural factors determining the degree of induced CPL with four heptacoordinate europium(III) complexes. Dalton Transactions 44(33): 14937-14951.
  • Linton, K.E., Fox, M.A., Pålsson, L.O. & Bryce, M.R. (2015). Oligo(p-phenyleneethynylene) (OPE) Molecular Wires: Synthesis and Length Dependence of Photoinduced Charge Transfer in OPEs with Triarylamine and Diaryloxadiazole End Groups. Chemistry - A European Journal 21(10): 3997-4007.
  • Bayazit, M. K., Pålsson, L. O. & Coleman, K. S. (2015). Sensing properties of light-emitting single walled carbon nanotubes prepared via click chemistry of ylides bound to the nanotube surface. RSC Advances 5(46): 36865-36873.
  • Fenyk, Stepan, Townsend, Philip D., Dixon, Christopher H., Spies, Gerhard B., de San Eustaquio Campillo, Alba, Slootweg, Erik J., Westerhof, Lotte B., Gawehns, Fleur K.K., Knight, Marc R., Sharples, Gary J., Goverse, Aska, Pålsson, Lars-Olof, Takken, Frank L.W. & Cann, Martin J. (2015). The Potato Nucleotide-Binding Leucine-Rich Repeat (NLR) Immune Receptor Rx1 is a Pathogen Dependent DNA-Deforming Protein. Journal of Biological Chemistry 290(41): 24945-24960.
  • Carr, Rachel, Puckrin, Robert, McMahon, Brian K., Pal, Robert, Parker, David & Pålsson, Lars-Olof (2014). Induced circularly polarized luminescence arising from anion or protein binding to racemic emissive lanthanide complexes. Methods and Applications in Fluorescence 2(2): 024007.
  • Steffen, A., Ward, R. M., Tay, M. G., Edkins, R. M., Seeler, F., van Leeuwen, M., Pålsson, L.-O., Beeby, A., Batsanov, A. S., Howard, J. A. K. & Marder, T. B. (2014). Regiospecific Formation and Unusual Optical Properties of 2,5-Bis(arylethynyl)rhodacyclopentadienes: A New Class of Luminescent Organometallics. Chemistry - a Eupean journal 20(3): 3652-3666.
  • Szablewski, M., Fox, M.A., Dias, F.B., Namih, H., Snedden, E.W., King, S.M., Dai, D.C. & Pålsson, L.O. (2014). Ultrafast Dynamics and Computational Studies on Diaminodicyanoquinodimethanes (DADQs). The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 118(24): 6815-6828.
  • Marje Kasari, Kadri Ligi, J.A. Gareth Williams, Angela Vaasa, Erki Enkvist, Kaido Viht, Lars-Olof Pålsson & Asko Uri (2013). Responsive microsecond-lifetime photoluminescent probes for analysis of protein kinases and their inhibitors. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1834(7): 1330-1335.
  • Linton, K.E., Fisher, A.L., Pearson, C, Fox, M.A., Pålsson, L.-O., Bryce, M.R. & Petty, M.C. (2012). Colour tuning of blue electroluminescence using bipolar carbazole-oxadiazole molecules in single-active-layer organic light emitting devices (OLEDs). Journal of Materials Chemistry 22(23): 11816-11825.
  • Crawford, A.G., Dwyer, A.D., Liu, Z., Steffen, A., Beeby, A., Pålsson, L.O., Tozer, D.J. & Marder, T.B. (2011). Experimental and Theoretical Studies of the Photophysical Properties of 2- and 2,7-Functionalized Pyrene Derivatives. Journal of the American Chemical Society 133(34): 13349-13362.
  • Suri, A, Campos, R, Rackus, DG Spiller, NJS Richardson, C, Pǻlsson, LO & Kataky, R (2011). Liposome-doped hydrogel for implantable tissue. Soft Matter 7(15): 7071-7077.
  • Pålsson, L.-O., Wang, C., Batsanov, A.S., King, S.M., Beeby, A., Monkman, A.P. & Bryce, M.R. (2010). Efficient Intramolecular Charge Transfer in Oligoyne-Linked Donor–π–Acceptor Molecules. Chemistry - A European Journal 16(5): 1470-1479.
  • Palsson, LO, Nehls, BS, Galbrecht, F, Coombs, BA, Dias, FB, Farrell, T, Scherf, U & Monkman, AP (2010). Synthesis, Excited State Dynamics, and Optical Characteristics of Oligophenyl-Based Swivel Cruciforms in Solution and Solid State. The Journal Of Physical Chemistry B 114(40): 12765-12776.
  • Murphy, L, Congreve, A, Pålsson, LO & Williams, JAG (2010). The time domain in co-stained cell imaging: time-resolved emission imaging microscopy using a protonatable luminescent iridium complex. Chemical Communications 46(46): 8743-8745.
  • L. Porrès, A. Holland, L.-O. Pålsson, A.P. Monkman, C. Kemp & A. Beeby (2006). Absolute measurements of photoluminescence quantum yields of solutions using an integrating sphere. Journal of Fluorescence 16(2): 267-273.
  • Palsson, L.O., Vaughan, H.L., Smith, A., Szablewski, M., Cross, G.H., Roberts, T., Masutani, A., Yasuda, A., Beeby, A. & Bloor, D. (2006). Guest-host interactions between dichroic dyes and anisotropic hosts. Journal of luminescence 117(1): 113-122.
  • Dias, F.B., Pollock, S., Hedley, G., Palsson, L.O., Monkman, A., Perepichka, I.I., Perepichka, I.F., Tavasli, M. & Bryce, M.R. (2006). Intramolecular charge transfer assisted by conformational changes in the excited state of fluorene-dibenzothiophene-S,S-dioxide co-oligomers. Journal of Physical Chemistry B 110(39): 19329-19339.
  • Szablewski, M., Bloor, D., Kagawa, Y., Mosurkal, R., Cole, J.M., Clark, S.J., Cross, G.H. & Palsson, L.O. (2006). Matrix dependence of blue light emission from a novel NH2-functionalized dicyanoquinodimethane derivative. Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry 19(3): 206-213.
  • Wang, C., Pålsson, L.-O., Batsanov, A. S. & Bryce, M. R. (2006). Molecular wires comprising pi-extended ethynyl- and butadiynyl-2,5-diphenyl-1,3,4 oxidiazole derivatives: synthesis, redox, structural and optoelectronic properties. Journal of the American Chemical Society 128(11): 3789-3799.
  • Palsson, L.-O., Vaughan, H. L. & Monkman, A. P. (2006). Polarized optical spectroscopy applied to investigate two poly(phenylene-vinylene) polymers with different side chain structures. Journal of Chemical Physics 125: 164701.
  • Perepichka, II, I. F. Perepichka, M. R. Bryce & L. O. Palsson (2005). Dibenzothiophene-S,S-dioxide-fluorene co-oligomers. Stable, highly-efficient blue emitters with improved electron affinity. Chemical Communications (27): 3397-3399.
  • Perepichka, II, Perepichka, IF, Bryce, MR & Palsson, LO (2005). Dibenzothiophene-S,S-dioxide-fluorene co-oligomers. Stable,highly-efficient blue emitters with improved electron affinity. Chemical Communications (27): 3397-3399.
  • Knaapila M, Kisko K, Lyons BP, Stepanyan R, Foreman JP, Seeck OH, Vainio U, Palsson LO, Serimaa R, Torkkeli M & Monkman AP (2004). Influence Of Molecular Weight On Self-organization, Uniaxial Alignment, And Surface Morphology Of Hairy-rodlike Polyfluorene In Thin Films. Journal Of Physical Chemistry B 108(30): 10711-10720.
  • Knaapila, M., Torkkeli, M., Jokela, K., Kisko, K., Horsburgh, L.E., Palsson, L.O., Seeck, O.H., Dolbnya, I.P., Bras, W., ten Brinke, G., Monkman, A.P., Ikkala, O. & Serimaa, R. (2003). Diffraction analysis of highly ordered smectic supramolecules of conjugated rodlike polymers. Journal of Applied Crystallography 36(3): 702-707.
  • Cross, G. H., Hackman, N. A., Thomas, P. R., Szablewski, M., Pålsson, L.-O. & Bloor, D. (2003). Local field and aggregation dependence of the micro- and macroscopic optical non-linearity of zwitterionic molecules. Optical Materials 21(1-3): 29-37.
  • Rothe, C, Hintschich, SI, Palsson, LO & Monkman, AP (2003). Pressure dependent radiative quantum yields of the prompt and delayedluminescence of polyfluorene films (vol 360, pg 111, 2002). Chemical Physics Letters 373(5-6): 646-647.
  • Knaapila M, Lyons BP, Kisko K, Foreman JP, Vainio U, Mihaylova M, Seeck OH, Palsson LO, Serimaa R, Torkkeli M & Monkman AP (2003). X-ray Diffraction Studies Of Multiple Orientation In Poly(9,9-bis(2-ethylhexyl)fluorene-2,7-diyl) Thin Films. Journal Of Physical Chemistry B 107(45): 12425-12430.
  • Varnavski, O., Samuel, I. D. W., Palsson, L.-O., Beavington, R., Burn, P. L. & Goodson, T. (2002). Investigations of excitation energy transfer and intramolecular interactions in a nitrogen corded distrylbenzene dendrimer system. Journal of Chemical Physics 116(20): 8893-8903.
  • Ikkala, OT, Knaapila, M, Torkkeli, M, Palsson, LO, Horsburgh, LE, Jokela, K, Dolbnya, IP, Bras, W, Serimaa, R, ten Brinke, G & Monkman, AP (2002). Novel route for polarized luminance: Cleaving side groups from alignedself-organized supramolecules. Abstracts Of Papers Of The American Chemical Society 224: U409-U409.
  • Knaapila, M., Ikkala, O., Torkkeli, M., Jokela, K., Serimaa, R., Dolbnya, I.P., Bras, W., ten Brinke, G., Horsburgh, L.E., Pålsson, L.-O. & Monkman, A.P. (2002). Polarized luminescence from self-assembled, aligned, and cleaved supramolecules of highly ordered rodlike polymers. Applied physics letters 81(14): 1489-1491.
  • Rothe, C, Hintschich, SI, Palsson, LO, Monkman, AP, Guentner, R & Scherf, U (2002). Pressure dependent radiative quantum yields of the prompt and delayedluminescence of polyfluorene films. Chemical Physics Letters 360(1-2): 111-116.
  • Monkman, A. P., Pålsson, L.-O., Higgins, R. W. T., Wang, C. S., Bryce, M. R., Batsanov, A. S. & Howard, J. A. K. (2002). Protonation and subsequent intramolecular hydrogen bonding as a method to control chain structure and tune luminescence in heteroatomic conjugated polymers. Journal Of The American Chemical Society 124(21): 6049-6055.
  • Rothe, C, Palsson, LO & Monkman, AP (2002). Singlet and triplet energy transfer in a benzil-doped, light emitting,solid-state conjugated polymer. Chemical Physics 285(1): 95-101.
  • Palsson, L.-O., Beavington, R., Frampton, M. J., Lupton, J. M., Magennis, S. W., Markham, J. P. J., Pillow, J. N. G., Burn, P. L. & Samuel, I. D. W. (2002). Synthesis and excited state spectroscopy of tris (distyrylbenzenyl)amine-cored electroluminescent dendrimers. Macromolecules 35(21): 7891-7901.
  • Lo, SC, Palsson, LO, Kilitziraki, M, Burn, PL & Samuel, IDW (2001). Control of polymer-electrode interactions: the effect of leaving groupon the optical properties and device characteristics of EHPPV. Journal Of Materials Chemistry 11(9): 2228-2231.
  • Palsson, LO, Wang, CS, Monkman, AP, Bryce, MR, Rumbles, G & Samuel, IDW (2001). Fluorene co-polymer luminescence: implications for molecular interactions. Synthetic Metals 119(1-3): 627-628.
  • Bloor, D., Kagawa, Y., Szablewski, M., Ravi, M., Clark, S. J., Cross, G. H., Palsson, L-O., Beeby, A., Parmer, C. & Rumbles, G. (2001). Matrix dependence of light emission from TCNQ adducts. Journal of Materials Chemistry 11(12): 3053-3062.
  • Wang, CS, Kilitziraki, M, Palsson, LO, Bryce, MR, Monkman, AP & Samuel, IDW (2001). Polymeric alkoxy PBD [2-(4-biphenylyl)-5-phenyl-1,3,4-oxadiazole] forlight-emitting diodes. Advanced Functional Materials 11(1): 47-50.
  • Bourhill, G, Palsson, LO, Samuel, IDW, Sage, IC, Oswald, IDH & Duignan, JP (2001). The solid-state photoluminescent quantum yield of triboluminescentmaterials. Chemical Physics Letters 336(3-4): 234-241.
  • Whitelegg, SA, Buckley, A, Rahn, MD, Fox, AM, Bradley, DDC, Palsson, LO, Samuel, IDW, Webster, GR & Burn, PL (2001). Time-resolved PL studies of partially conjugated MEH-PPV - Control ofexcimer emission. Synthetic Metals 119(1-3): 575-576.
  • Palsson, LO, Flemming, C, Gobets, B, van Grondelle, R, Dekker, JP & Schlodder, E (1998). Energy transfer and charge separation in photosystem I: P700 oxidationupon selective excitation of the long-wavelength antenna chlorophyllsof Synechococcus elongatus. Biophysical Journal 74(5): 2611-2622.
  • Peterman, EJG, Wenk, SO, Pullerits, T, Palsson, LO, van Grondelle, R, Dekker, JP, Rogner, M & van Amerongen, H (1998). Fluorescence and absorption spectroscopy of the weakly fluorescentchlorophyll a in cytochrome b(6)f of Synechocystis PCC6803. Biophysical Journal 75(1): 389-398.
  • Palsson, LO, Gobets, B, Fleming, C, Ericsson, LM, VanGrondelle, R, Schlodder, E & Dekker, JP (1996). Long-wavelength antenna pigments in photosystem I. Progress In Biophysics & Molecular Biology 65: PE217-PE217.
  • Palsson, LO, Dekker, JP, Schlodder, E, Monshouwer, R & vanGrondelle, R (1996). Polarized site-selective fluorescence spectroscopy of thelong-wavelength emitting chlorophylls in isolated Photosystem Iparticles of Synechococcus elongatus. Photosynthesis Research 48(1-2): 239-246.
  • Gobets, B, Ericsson, M, Palsson, LO, Shubin, VV, Karapetyan, NV, VanGrondelle, R & Dekker, JP (1996). Site selected polarized fluorescence spectroscopy of photosystem Iparticles isolated from the cyanobacteria Spirulina platensis. Progress In Biophysics & Molecular Biology 65: PE221-PE221.
  • PALSSON, LO, SPANGFORT, MD, GULBINAS, V & GILLBRO, T (1994). Ultrafast chlorophyll b-chlorophyll a excitation energy transfer in the isolated light harvesting complex, LHC II, of green plants. FEBS Letters 339(1-2): 134-138.
  • PALSSON, LO, MILLER, M & GILLBRO, T (1991). ENERGY-TRANSFER KINETICS IN THE GREEN BACTERIUM CHLOROFLEXUS-AURANTIACUS. Proceedings Of The Indian Academy Of Sciences-chemical Sciences 103(3): 413-416.

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