Polarization sensing with visual detection

Ignacy Gryczynski, Zygmunt Gryczynski, Joseph R. Lakowicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We describe a new approach to fluorescence sensing which relies on visual determination the polarization. The sensing device consists of a fluorescent probe, which changes intensity in responses to the analyte, and an oriented fluorescent film, which is not affected by the analyte. An emission filter is selected to observe the emission from both the film and the sensing fluorophore. Changes in the probe intensity result in changes in the polarization of the combined emission from the sensor and reference. The degree of polarization can be detected visually using a dual polarizer with adjacent sections oriented orthogonally to each other. The emission passing through the dual polarizer is viewed with a second analyzing polarizer. This analyzer is rotated manually to yield equal intensities from both sides of the dual polarizer. This approach was used to measure the concentration of RhB in intralipid and to measure pH using 6-carboxyfluorescein. The analyzer angle is typically accurate to 1°, providing pH values accurate to ±0.1 pH unit at the midpoint of the titration curve. We also describe a method of visual polarization sensing that does not require an oriented film and that can use the same fluorophore for the sample and reference. These approaches to visual sensing are generic and can be applied to a wide variety of analytes for which fluorescent probes are available. Importantly, the devices are simple, with the only electronic component being the light source.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1241-1251
Number of pages11
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Apr 1999


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