A method for investigation of photobleaching and saturation of single molecules by fluorophore recrossing events in a laser beam is described. The diffraction-limited probe volumes encountered in single-molecule detection (SMD) produce high excitation irradiance, which can decrease available signal. The single molecules of several dyes were detected and the data was used to extract interpeak times above a defined threshold value. The interpeak times revealed the number of fluorophore recrossing events. The number of molecules detected that were within 2 ms of each other represented a molecular recrossing for this work. Calcein, fluorescein and R-phycoerythrin were analyzed and the saturation irradiance and photobleaching effects were determined as a function of irradiance. This approach is simple and it serves as a method of optimizing experimental conditions for single-molecule detection.
- Photon saturation
- Single-molecule detection