Past, Present and Future of Photosensitizers

  • Roy Pottier
Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 15)


The use of visible or ultraviolet electromagnetic radiation (non-ionizing) is a simple and convenient way to excite atoms or molecules to a reactive state. A wide variety of lamps are commercially available in order to induce photochemical reactions by direct photolysis of the sample, and this can be carried out in gaseous, liquid or solid phase, in suspensions or biological preparations, and even on live organisms. Unfortunately, many biologically active molecules that one would wish to photoexcite directly do not show absorbance of radiation at convenient, low energy wavelengths. In such cases, one can sometimes resort to a process known as photosensitization, in which a sensitizer molecule is used to absorb electromagnetic energy of higher frequency (shorter wavelength), and this energy is in turn transferred to the molecule of interest (substrate), thus photosensitizing the substrate to its reactive state by an indirect process. In a broad sense, the photosensitizing molecule can be seen as an “antenna” that receives the electromagnetic radiation for the substrate that one wants to excite. Ideally, this sensitizing molecule should behave as a catalyst, in the sense that once the energy transfer process has taken place, the sensitizer would be regenerated in order to undergo repeated photosensitization. Further, this photosensitizing molecule should not interfere, either physically or chemically, in the final reaction that one is trying to induce.


Photodynamic Therapy Direct Photolysis Photodynamic Action Porphyrin Derivative Pityriasis Versicolor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer- Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roy Pottier
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry & Chemical EngineeringRoyal Military College of CanadaKingstonCanada

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