Scanning Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy on Biomembranes

  • Eduard Hermann
  • Jonas Ries
  • Ana J. García-SáezEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1232)


Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) is a powerful quantitative method to study dynamical properties of biophysical systems. It exploits the temporal autocorrelation of fluorescence intensity fluctuations originating from a tiny volume (~fL). A theoretical model function can be then fitted to the measured auto-correlation curve to obtain physical parameters such as local concentration and diffusion time. However, the application of FCS on membranes is coupled to several difficulties like accurate positioning and stability of the set-up.

In this book chapter, we explain the theoretical framework of point FCS and Scanning FCS (SFCS), which is a variation especially suitable for membrane studies. We present a list of materials necessary for SFCS studies on Giant Unilamellar Vesicles (GUVs). Finally, we provide simple protocols for the preparation of GUVs, calibration of the microscope setup, and acquisition and analysis of SFCS data to determine diffusion coefficients and concentrations of fluorescent particles embedded in lipid membranes.

Key words

Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy Giant unilamellar vesicles Scanning FCS Diffusion coefficient Membrane 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eduard Hermann
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jonas Ries
    • 3
  • Ana J. García-Sáez
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Intelligent SystemsStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.German Cancer Research Center, BioQuantHeidelbergGermany
  3. 3.European Molecular Biology LaboratoryHeidelbergGermany

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