Polarized fluorescent emission from probes near dielectric interfaces

Thomas P. Burghardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The electromagnetic field surrounding and emitted by a dipolar molecular probe very near to a dielectric interface is the sum of the real dipole field and the field of the image dipole induced inside the dielectric interface. The total charge distribution, made up of the real and image dipoles in close proximity to each other, approximates a quadrupole distribution and emits a light intensity pattern similar to that of an oscillating electric quadrupole. The electromagnetic field emitted by this system contains information that can be directly related to the spatial and orientational distributions of the dipole near the interface. Experimental methods are discussed that utilize this system for determining the spatial and orientational distribution of fluorescent probes in biological material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-287
Number of pages17
JournalChemistry and Physics of Lipids
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jun 1989


  • dipole
  • evanescent
  • microscopy
  • near and asymptotic fields
  • order parameters
  • orientation distribution
  • radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Cell Biology


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