Simultaneous two-photon excitation of distinct labels for dual-color fluorescence crosscorrelation analysis

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Sep 12;97(19):10377-82. doi: 10.1073/pnas.180317197.


Confocal fluorescence correlation spectroscopy as a time-averaging fluctuation analysis combining maximum sensitivity with high statistical confidence has proved to be a very versatile and powerful tool for detection and temporal investigation of biomolecules at ultralow concentrations on surfaces, in solutions, and in living cells. To probe the interaction of different molecular species for a detailed understanding of biologically relevant mechanisms, crosscorrelation studies on dual or multiple fluorophore assays with spectrally distinct excitation and emission are particularly promising. Despite the considerable improvement of detection specificity provided by fluorescence crosscorrelation analysis, few applications have so far been reported, presumably because of the practical challenges of properly aligning and controlling the stability of the experimental setup. In this work, we demonstrate that two-photon excitation combined with dual-color fluorescence correlation spectroscopy can be the key to simplifying simultaneous investigations of multiple fluorescent species significantly on a single-molecule scale. Two-photon excitation allows accession of common fluorophores of largely distinct emission by the same excitation wavelength, because differences in selection rules and vibronic coupling can induce considerable shifts between the one-photon and two-photon excitation spectra. The concept of dual-color two-photon fluorescence crosscorrelation analysis is introduced and experimentally demonstrated with an established assay probing the selective cleavage of dual-labeled DNA substrates by restriction endonuclease EcoRI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calibration
  • Fluorescence
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Photons
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence / methods*


  • Fluorescent Dyes