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Comb Chem High Throughput Screen. 2003 May;6(3):167-73.

Fluorescence polarization: past, present and future.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, 1960 East-West Rd.; Honolulu, HI 96822, USA.


Fluorescence polarization was first observed in 1920 and during the next few decades the theoretical foundations of the phenomenon were clearly established. In the last two decades of the 20(th) century, fluorescence polarization became one of the most prevalent methods used in clinical and biomedical sciences. In this article we review the history of fluorescence polarization, its theoretical foundations and some of the more important practical developments, which helped to popularize the method. We also discuss important, but often misunderstood, practical considerations including the wavelength dependence of the limiting polarization and the effect of energy transfer on polarization. The present state of fluorescence polarization, both in pure research as well as in the applied biosciences is also reviewed. Finally, we speculate on possible future developments in the field, such as the use of multi-photon techniques.

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