Wavelength Tech Forum: Fluorescence

November 10, 2009

Joining us for this discussion are Ray Kaminski, HORIBA Scientific and Richard A. Larsen, Jasco, Inc

Fluorescence technology is utilized in some of the most critical everyday application areas in society. From the biochemical field to the medical field to the field of organic compound analysis, fluorescence can be found in laboratories throughout the world of analytical chemistry.

Joining us for this discussion are Ray Kaminski, HORIBA Scientific and Richard A. Larsen, Jasco, Inc.

In which application area has fluorescence had the greatest impact in recent years? (i.e., biomedical, organic compound analysis, etc.)

Kaminski: There has been a significant shift from pure biochemical-based research, to materials science-related fields. Specifically, there is tremendous activity in the NanoTech field, both in the development of novel devices and probes, such as quantum dots. It has taken flexible instrument design, that extends detection into the IR, for example, to be able to meet these diverse and multiplying demands.

Larsen: The use of fluorescence for materials analysis has drastically increased in the past few years. Examples such as quantum yield data for LED and PDP display phosphors, “invisible” counterfeit prevention devices (packaging, credit, and monetary devices), and analysis of nanotubes, etc. The use of fluorescent devices to characterize these types of materials hasl greatly increased in the past few years and we expect to see more of these applications in the future.

What new instrumentation advances do you expect to see in the field of fluorescence in the near future – perhaps coming up at Pittcon?

Kaminski: Small volume investigations are peaking their heads over the horizon. This is demonstrated by the success of companies such as NanoDrop, who are dedicated to this area. The cost to produce some of the compounds being analyzed will produce additional pressures in this area as we go further into the future.

Larsen: A greater awareness of the use of fluorescence for materials analysis, as well as optimized accessories and instrumentation for these types of analyses will continue to expand.

What new developments in fluorescence have you the most intrigued?

Kaminski: Methods to perform FLIM in real time have been elusive in the past. Most of the instruments now available are not true imaging systems in that the data is an assembled map of the sample. Each pixel, as a result, is taken at a different time. Simultaneous acquisition, or a true picture of an event, is possible with other techniques, however, and I can see this application being adopted by investigators, especially in drug delivery and cancer studies.

What advances in the field of fluorescence do you expect to see in the next 10 years? 20 years?

Kaminski:Surely, there are many applications that have been hampered by the size and cost of the average fluorescence system. Some of us believe, therefore, that items such as labs on a chip will become more and more prominent, not so much for research, but for diagnostics, as well as monitoring biological functions, even on the clinical level. Also, as concern for the environment, such as global warming, becomes more compulsive, we see opportunities to make advances in areas of atmospheric models as well as studies of dissolved organic matter (DOM).

Larsen:I am quite interested in the additional integration of fluorescence imaging with other analysis techniques, such as infrared and Raman imaging, to provide additional information about cellular structures and other protein interactions.

What do you think?

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