The use of Förster or fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) as a spectroscopic technique has been in practice for over 50 years. A search of ISI Web of Science with just the acronym "FRET" returns more than 2300 citations from various areas such as structural elucidation of biological molecules and their interactions, in vitro assays, in vivo monitoring in cellular research, nucleic acid analysis, signal transduction, light harvesting and metallic nanomaterials. The advent of new classes of fluorophores including nanocrystals, nanoparticles, polymers, and genetically encoded proteins, in conjunction with ever more sophisticated equipment, has been vital in this development. This review gives a critical overview of the major classes of fluorophore materials that may act as donor, acceptor, or both in a FRET configuration. We focus in particular on the benefits and limitations of these materials and their combinations, as well as the available methods of bioconjugation.
- FRET (fluorescence resonant energy transfer)
- Quantum dots
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