SK2521 Fluorescence Spectroscopy for Biomolecular Studies 6.0 credits

Fluorescens-spektroskopi för biomolekylära studier

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.

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Course information

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. 

Lectures (20 h), laborations (12 h), 1 project task with oral presentation, 1 control exam

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.

Course Disposition

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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)

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

Recommended prerequisites

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JR Lakowicz ”Principles of fluorescence spectroscopy” Kluwer Academic.

B Valeur, Molecular fluorescence. Principles and applications, Wiley-VCH.

(the editions used will be announced on the course home page at least four weeks prior to the start of the course).

Scientific articles.

Laboratory instructions

Examination and completion

Grading scale *

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

Examination *

  • 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

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Jerker Widengren

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

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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.

Supplementary information

The course is given 2018, 2020, 2022 etc.