Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy: Past, present, future

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In recent years fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) has become a routine method for determining diffusion coefficients, chemical rate constants, molecular concentrations, fluorescence brightness, triplet state lifetimes, and other molecular parameters. FCS measures the spatial and temporal correlation of individual molecules with themselves and so provides a bridge between classical ensemble and contemporary single-molecule measurements. It also provides information on concentration and molecular number fluctuations for nonlinear reaction systems that complement single-molecule measurements. Typically implemented on a fluorescence microscope, FCS samples femtoliter volumes and so is especially useful for characterizing small dynamic systems such as biological cells. In addition to its practical utility, however, FCS provides a window on mesoscopic systems in which fluctuations from steady states not only provide the basis for the measurement but also can have important consequences for the behavior and evolution of the system. For example, a new and potentially interesting field for FCS studies could be the study of nonequilibrium steady states, especially in living cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2855-2870
Number of pages16
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 21 2011


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