Open Access Single-Molecule Fluorescence Analysis in Solution

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Over the past five years, several groups have developed the capability to detect and identify single fluorescent molecules in solution as the molecules flow through a focused laser beam. The history of the approach to single-molecule detection in fluid solution is shown in Fig. 1. Approximately one dozen molecular species have been detected at this level of sensitivity. Fluorescence-based, single-molecule detection techniques are expected to have a significant impact in fields where fluorescence detection and quantification are broadly applied, e.g., analytical chemistry, biology, and medicine. Single-molecule detection is a new way of doing analytical chemistry, and new applications will arise. In this article, we describe our approach to single-molecule detection and explore assays that can be done at the single-species level that would be difficult or impossible with bulk measurements.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Chemical Science and Technology Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545 2: Life Sciences Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545

Publication date: July 1, 1996

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