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FSK3521 Fluorescens Spectroscopy for Biomolecular Studies 6.0 credits

The field of fluorescence spectroscopy has developed in a remarkable way in the last decade. Detection and characterization by fluorescence has found a widespread use in biomedical research, for clinical diagnostics, as well as within drug development in biotechnological and pharmaceutical research

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters
Headings with content from the Course syllabus FSK3521 (Spring 2019–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

Introduction to fluorescence, Physical description of absorption and emission processes, fluorescence markers and their characteristics, environmental effects / fluorescence molecular sensors, other photo-induced non-fluorescent states of fluorophores, polarization and rotational measurements of molecules, resonance energy transfer (FRET) and molecular distance measurements with fluorescence, ultra-sensitive fluorescence spectroscopic and microscopic techniques, including single molecule spectroscopy and methods based on fluctuation analysis, applications of fluorescence spectroscopy in biology, medicine and drug development. Discussions about how to apply/developm fluorescence methods within the research area of the student. 

Intended learning outcomes

This course covers methods in fluorescence spectroscopy that are used to study biomolecules and their interactions.
After this course the students are expected to be able to:

  • explain the fundamental physical mechanisms involved in the generation of fluorescence light.
  • explain how interactions between biomolecules and electromagnetic radiation and environmental effects can generate changes in the measured fluorescence parameters, and how these changes can be exploited for monitoring of biomolecules and their interactions.
  • Mention the most  important fluorescence techniques in the biomedical research field, and explain what type of questions these techniques can address.
  • Describe the physical principles of these fluorescence techniques,.
  • Based on knowledge on these techniques and their physical principles, describe and motivate what the factors are that limit their performance, and how the obtained measurements data are evaluated.
  • Follow, report on, and discuss relevant parts of the latest development in the field of fluorescence spectroscopy, and judge their applicability for different biomolecular studies.
  • more in detail estimate the usefulness of fluorescence methods within the students own area of research, and to provide well motivated, solid suggestions of how they can be applied in the area.

Course disposition

Lectures: 20 h, laborations 12h, 1 project task with oral presentation, 1 control exam, discussion seminar with a written report.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Admitted to PhD studies in Physics, Biological Physics, or related fields of study.

Recommended prerequisites

Recommended previous knowledge:   
Passed course in “Experimental methods in molecular biophysics” SK2520 or SK3520
Course given in English, if not all students would prefer Swedish.


No information inserted


JR Lakowicz, Principles of fluorescence spectroscopy, Kluwer Academic
B Valeur,Molecular Fluorescence, principles and applications, Wiley-VCH

Scientific articles and hand-outs
Laboration instructions

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

P, F


  • LAB1 - Laboratory work, 1.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • LIT1 - Literature assignment, 1.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Exam, 4.0 credits, grading scale: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade

The course is assessed through:
One written examination (4 credits, grades P/F),
One oral project presentation (1 credit, grades P/F),
Passed laborations/exercises (1 credit, grades P/F)

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Profile picture Jerker Widengren

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web FSK3521

Offered by

SCI/Applied Physics

Main field of study

No information inserted

Education cycle

Third cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Professor Jerker Widengren,

Postgraduate course

Postgraduate courses at SCI/Applied Physics