Complexes formed of deoxyribose nucleic acid (DNA) and trivalent lanthanide ions (Ln3+) promise a combination of high optical gain and low optical loss in an organic polymer host matrix. However, there has been some dispute about the binding mechanism between the DNA helix and the positively-charged lanthanide ions. Here we introduce an attempt to resolve the mechanism for binding through Judd-Ofelt analysis on DNA-Eu3+, DNA-Tb3+, and DNA-Sm3+ to first order. From initial Judd-Ofelt parameters extrapolations can be made to the line strengths, Einstein coefficients, and fluorescence lifetimes.
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