Molecules (2021-01-01)

Ultrafast Fluorescence Spectroscopy via Upconversion and Its Applications in Biophysics

  • Simin Cao,
  • Haoyang Li,
  • Zenan Zhao,
  • Sanjun Zhang,
  • Jinquan Chen,
  • Jianhua Xu,
  • Jay R. Knutson,
  • Ludwig Brand

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 26, no. 211
p. 211


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In this review, the experimental set-up and functional characteristics of single-wavelength and broad-band femtosecond upconversion spectrophotofluorometers developed in our laboratory are described. We discuss applications of this technique to biophysical problems, such as ultrafast fluorescence quenching and solvation dynamics of tryptophan, peptides, proteins, reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH), and nucleic acids. In the tryptophan dynamics field, especially for proteins, two types of solvation dynamics on different time scales have been well explored: ~1 ps for bulk water, and tens of picoseconds for “biological water”, a term that combines effects of water and macromolecule dynamics. In addition, some proteins also show quasi-static self-quenching (QSSQ) phenomena. Interestingly, in our more recent work, we also find that similar mixtures of quenching and solvation dynamics occur for the metabolic cofactor NADH. In this review, we add a brief overview of the emerging development of fluorescent RNA aptamers and their potential application to live cell imaging, while noting how ultrafast measurement may speed their optimization.