Project Details Reference methods, standards and applications of photoluminescence

Project No.:
Start Date:
01 July 2004
End Date:
02 November 2010
Division Name:
Physical and Biophysical Chemistry Division
Division No.:


IUPAC documents on fluorescence will be updated including advances registered during the last fifteen years. Particular attention will be given to newly developed reference materials and methods.


A long time ago, David Eaton undertook the task of collecting information on fluorescence methods and materials as a task of the IUPAC Commission on Photochemistry. Two relevant documents evolved from this work: 1) Reference Materials for Fluorescence Measurement, Pure Appl. Chem., 60(7), 1107-1114 (1988); 2) Recommended Methods for Fluorescence Decay Analysis, Pure Appl. Chem., 62(8), 1631-1648 (1990).

Since Eaton’s documents were written, new reference materials appeared and the subject evolved rapidly with the incorporation of new areas and methods that were not or only poorly developed at that time. A few examples are single molecule fluorescence, ultrafast fluorescence detection, and fluorescence microscopy. Many of these areas are of utmost relevance in materials science and in biology. In general, the interest shifted impressively to organized, (micro)heterogeneous systems.

Through the project we proposed an update of Eaton’s documents, with a renewed body of reference information and the incorporation of a brief overview on new methods and techniques that may guide those entering the field through this fascinating topic. The scope of the work was broadened to include luminescence from molecular emitters in their triplet state or states with mixed spin multiplicity, quantum dots, etc. Thus, the term “fluorescence” appearing in the earlier documents has been replaced by the far more comprehensive term “photoluminescence”.


The Task Group joined at the XX IUPAC Symposium on Photochemistry, held in July 2004 in Granada, and yearly until the formal end date in 2010. Taking into account the high number of participants, the project was divided into subtasks:

  1. Steady-state Luminescence Measurements
  2. Time-resolved Spectroscopy and Decay Analysis
  3. Single Molecules and Microfluorimetry
  4. Luminescence Measurement in Microheterogeneous, Heterogeneous, highly Absorbing and Complex System

Alter planning was completed, manuscripts began to be sent to IUPAC for their publication in Pure and Applied Chemistry after peer review and analysis by the corresponding IUPAC bodies. The list of papers published since 2010 and presently under preparation and update is the following.

1-Fluorescence standards: Classification, terminology, and recommendations on their selection, use, and production (Resch-DeRose)
Pure Appl. Chem., Vol. 82, No. 12, pp. 2315-2335, 2010

2-Standards for photoluminescence quantum yield measurements in solution (Brouwer)
Pure Appl. Chem., Vol. 83, No. 12, pp. 2213-2228, 2011

3-Characterization of photoluminescence measuring systems (Resch-DeRose)
Pure Appl. Chem., Vol. 84, No. 8, pp. 1815-1835, 2012

4-Fluorescence Anisotropy Measurements in Solution: Methods and Reference Materials (Ameloot-vandeVen-Acuña-Valeur)
Pure Appl. Chem., Vol. 85, No. 3, pp. 589-608, 2013

5-Fluorescence correlations spectroscopy (Enderlein)
Pure Appl. Chem., Vol. 85, No. 5, pp. 999-1016, 2013

6-Determination of the photoluminescence quantum yield of dilute dye solutions (Resch-Rurack)
Pure Appl. Chem., Vol. 85, No. 10, pp. 2005-2013, 2013

7-Single molecule fluorescence imaging by total internal reflection fluorescence miscroscopy (Knight)
Pure Appl. Chem., Vol. 86, No. 8, pp. 1303-1320, 2014

8-Time-resolved fluorescence methods (Lemmetyinen, Tkachenko, Valeur, Hotta, Ameloot, Ernsting, Gustavsson, Boens)
Pure Appl. Chem., Vol. 86, No. 12, pp. 1969-1998, 2014

9-Confocal single molecule detection: principles and experimental aspects (Hofkens-Sliwa-Dedecker-Miyasaka-Ito)
Manuscript being updated.

10-Calibration, standardisation, and quantitative analysis of multidimensional fluorescence (MDF) measurements on complex mixtures (Stedmon-Ryder-Harrit-Bro)
Pure Appl. Chem., Vol. 89, No. 12, pp. 1849-1870, 2017

Last update 30 Nov 2017