We demonstrate that a novel high-pressure cell is suitable for fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS). The pressure cell consists of a single fused silica microcapillary. The cylindrical shape of the capillary leads to refraction of the excitation light, which affects the point spread function of the system. We characterize the influence of these beam distortions by FCS and photon-counting histogram (PCH) analysis and identify the optimal position for fluorescence fluctuation experiments in the capillary. At this position within the capillary, FCS and photon-counting histogram experiments are described by the same equations as used in standard FCS experiments. We report the first experimental realization of fluorescence fluctuation spectroscopy under high pressure. A fluorescent dye was used as a model system for evaluating the properties of the capillary under pressure. The autocorrelation function and the photon count distribution were measured in the pressure range from 0 to 300 MPa. The fluctuation amplitude and the diffusion coefficient show a small pressure dependence. The changes of these parameters, which are on the order of 10%, are due to the pressure changes of the viscosity and the density of the aqueous medium.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (RR03155) and by the National Science Foundation (MCB-0110831).