Quantitative Fluorimetry


Light emission from atoms or molecules can be used to quantitate the amount of the emitting substance in a sample. The relationship between fluorescence intensity and analyte concentration is:
F = k * QE * Po * (1-10[-epsilon*b*c])
where F is the measured fluorescence intensity, k is a geometric instrumental factor, QE is the quantum efficiency (photons emitted/photons absorbed), Po is the radiant power of the excitation source, epsilon is the wavelength-dependent molar absorptivity coefficient, b is the path length, and c is the analyte concentration (epsilon, b, and c are the same as used in the Beer-Lambert law).

Expanding the above equation in a series and dropping higher terms gives:
F = k * QE * Po * (2.303 * epsilon * b * c)
This relationship is valid at low concentrations (<10-5 M) and shows that fluorescence intensity is linearly proportional to analyte concentration.

Determining unknown concentrations from the amount of fluorescence that a sample emits requires calibration of a fluorimeter with a standard (to determine K and QE) or by using a working curve.


Many of the limitations of the Beer-Lambert law also affect quantitative fluorimetry. Fluorescence measurements are also susceptible to inner-filter effects. These effects include excessive absorption of the excitation radiation (pre-filter effect) and self-absorption of atomic resonance fluorescence (post-filter effect).

Specific fluorescence techniques

Further Information

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Copyright © 1996 by Brian M. Tissue

updated 2/23/96