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SK2521 Fluorescence Spectroscopy for Biomolecular Studies 6.0 credits

Fluorescence spectroscopy has developed dramatically in the last decade. Fluorescence detection and characterization has found a wide use within biomedical research, as well as for clinical diagnostics, and for drug development activities in biotechnological and pharmaceutical industries. This course covers the principles and applications of fluorescence spectroscopic techniques for studies of biomolecules and their interactions.

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters
Headings with content from the Course syllabus SK2521 (Spring 2022–) 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 / fluorescent molecular sensors, other photoinduced non-fluorescent states of fluorophores, polarization and molecularr otational measurements, resonant energy transfer (FRET) and molecular distance measurements with fluorescence, ultra-sensitive fluorescence spectroscopic and fluorescence microscopic techniques, including single-molecule spectroscopy methods and fluctuation spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopic applications in biology, medicine and drug development.

Intended learning outcomes

After completing the course the student should be able to:

  • explain the basic physical mechanisms of fluorescence.
  • explain how the interaction between biomolecules and electromagnetic radiation, as well as environmental effects, can generate differences in the measured fluorescence parameters, and how these differences can be utilized for the observation of biomolecules and their interaction.
  • explain the physical principles of the most important fluorescence techniques in the biomedical research field, and what kind of questions these techniques can be used to answer.
  • describe and motivate which factors limit the performance of fluorescence techniques, and how measurement results obtained are evaluated.
  • describe, discuss and assess the potential of key elements in the latest developments in the fluorescence spectroscopic field.

Course disposition

No information inserted

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Mathematics corresponding to B2, D2, E2, F2, M2, T2. Fundamental knowledge of Physics, Course SK2520 (Experimental methods in molecular biophysics).

English B / English 6

Recommended prerequisites

Fundamental knowledge in quantum mechanics and optics advantageous, but not absolutely required.


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Examination and completion

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

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • LAB1 - Laboratory Work, 1.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • PRO1 - Project, 1.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Examination, 4.0 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, 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.

One written examination (TEN1, 4hp, grades A-F), one oral project presentation (PRO1; 1hp, grades P/F), laborations, exercises (LAB1; 1hp, grades P/F)

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination



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 SK2521

Offered by

SCI/Applied undergraduate Physics

Main field of study

Biotechnology, Engineering Physics, Physics

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Jerker Widengren (

Supplementary information

The course is given 2018, 2020, 2022 etc.