Prism-type total internal reflection microscopy for single-molecule FRET

Chirlmin Joo, Taekjip Ha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Single-molecule (sm) fluorescence detection is a powerful method for studying biological events without time and population averaging. Förster (fluorescence) resonance energy transfer (FRET) is a spectroscopic technique in which the efficiency of energy transfer from donor to acceptor molecules is used to determine distances between molecules in the 30-80 Å range. Structural changes in biological molecules or relative motion between two interacting molecules can be detected by a change in FRET. A variant of smFRET is based on total internal reflection (TIR) microscopy, which can be set up in two ways, either using an oil-immersion (objective-type) or a water-immersion (prism-type) lens. This protocol describes the setup for prism-type TIR microscopy (excitation and emission), which has been a major imaging tool for smFRET since it was first introduced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1295-1297
Number of pages3
JournalCold Spring Harbor Protocols
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2012


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