Testing Fluorescence Lifetime Standards using Two-Photon Excitation and Time-Domain Instrumentation: Fluorescein, Quinine Sulfate and Green Fluorescent Protein
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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It is essential for everyone working with experimental science to be certain that their instruments produce reliable results, and for fluorescence lifetime experiments, information about fluorescence lifetime standards is crucial. A large part of the literature on lifetime standards dates back to the 1970s and 1980s, and the use of newer and faster measuring devices may deem these results unreliable. We have tested the three commonly used fluorophores fluorescein, quinine sulfate and green fluorescent protein for their suitability to serve as lifetime standards, especially to be used with two-photon excitation measurements in the time-domain. We measured absorption and emission spectra for the fluorophores to determine optimal wavelengths to use for excitation and detector settings. Fluorescence lifetimes were measured for different concentrations, ranging from 10− 3 − 10− 5 M, as well as for various solvents. Fluorescein was soluble in both ethanol, methanol and sulfuric acid, while quinine sulfate was only soluble in sulfuric acid. Green fluorescent protein was prepared in a commercial Tris-HCl, EDTA solution, and all three fluorophores produced stable lifetime results with low uncertainties. No siginificant variation with concentration was measured for any of the fluorophores, and all showed single-exponential decays. All lifetime measurements were carried out using two-photon excitation and lifetime data was obtained in the time-domain using time-correlated single-photon counting.