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Published August 5, 2002 | public
Journal Article Open

Photon Statistics and Dynamics of Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer


We report high time-resolution measurements of photon statistics from pairs of dye molecules coupled by fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). In addition to quantum-optical photon antibunching, we observe photon bunching on a time scale of several nanoseconds. We show by numerical simulation that configuration fluctuations in the coupled fluorophore system could account for minor deviations of our data from predictions of basic Förster theory. With further characterization we believe that FRET photon statistics could provide a unique tool for studying DNA mechanics on time scales from 10^-9 – 10^-3   s.

Additional Information

©2002 The American Physical Society Received 4 February 2002; published 18 July 2002 The authors thank E. Winfree, R. Phillips, and X. Zhuang for informative discussions, and T. McGarvey for technical assistance. This research was supported by the NSF under Grant No. EIA-0113443 and by the W. M. Keck Discovery Fund. A. B. acknowledges the support of an NSF Graduate Fellowship.


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