Complex Biosystems Spectroscopic detection of fluorescent molecules, either those found naturally or those colored with fluorescent dyes, has created new research possibilities for scientists who study proteins and DNA. With photonic instruments like spectrophotometers and spectrofluorimeters, life scientists can measure the low-intensity light emitted from fluorescent molecules.

"Because the character of the light emitted from a molecule changes in respect to the environment the molecule is in, fluorescence is a very sensitive reporter of the conditions in the sample," says Richard DeSa, president and director of R&D at On-Line Instrument Systems Inc., a Bogart, Ga.-based company that specializes in spectrophotometric and spectrofluorimetric instruments with scanning capabilities. He adds that the fluorescence provides investigators with dynamic information about complex biosystems.

Fluorescence techniques make it easier for life scientists to study the structure or dynamics of biomolecules, such as protein folding or how various molecules interact. Additionally, fluorescence spectroscopy enables researchers to...

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