Potassium channels have been identified as targets for a large number of therapeutic indications. The ability to use a high-throughput functional assay for the detection and characterization of small-molecule modulators of potassium channels is very desirable. However, present techniques capable of screening very large chemical libraries are limited in terms of data quality, temporal resolution, ease of use, and requirements for specialized instrumentation. To address these issues, the authors have developed a fluorescence-based thallium flux assay. This assay is capable of detecting modulators of both voltage and ligand-gated potassium channels expressed in mammalian cells. The thallium flux assay can use instruments standard to most high-throughput screening laboratories, and using such equipment has been successfully employed to screen large chemical libraries consisting of hundreds of thousands of compounds.