Exploration of the two-photon excitation spectrum of fluorescent dyes at wavelengths below the range of the Ti:Sapphire laser

J Microsc. 2015 Sep;259(3):210-8. doi: 10.1111/jmi.12255. Epub 2015 May 6.


We have studied the wavelength dependence of the two-photon excitation efficiency for a number of common UV excitable fluorescent dyes; the nuclear stains DAPI, Hoechst and SYTOX Green, chitin- and cellulose-staining dye Calcofluor White and Alexa Fluor 350, in the visible and near-infrared wavelength range (540-800 nm). For several of the dyes, we observe a substantial increase in the fluorescence emission intensity for shorter excitation wavelengths than the 680 nm which is the shortest wavelength usually available for two-photon microscopy. We also find that although the rate of photo-bleaching increases at shorter wavelengths, it is still possible to acquire many images with higher fluorescence intensity. This is particularly useful for applications where the aim is to image the structure, rather than monitoring changes in emission intensity over extended periods of time. We measure the excitation spectrum when the dyes are used to stain biological specimens to get a more accurate representation of the spectrum of the dye in a cell environment as compared to solution-based measurements.

Keywords: 3T3 cells; Fluorescent dyes; microscopy; multiphoton microscopy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum Oxide
  • Benzenesulfonates / chemistry
  • Fluorescence
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Indoles / chemistry
  • Lasers
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Organic Chemicals / chemistry
  • Photons*
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Benzenesulfonates
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Indoles
  • Organic Chemicals
  • SYTOX Green
  • DAPI
  • C.I. Fluorescent Brightening Agent 28
  • Aluminum Oxide