Anal. Biochem. 1998, 260, 244-250.

Measurements of Serotonin and Related Indoles Using Capillary Electrophoresis with Multiphoton-Induced Hyperluminescence

M. L. Gostkowski, J. Wei, J. B. Shear

We report the use of multiphoton-excited photochemistry to generate highly fluorescent products from hydroxyindoles fractionated in submicron capillary electrophoresis channels. In this approach, the near-infrared (750 nm) output from a modelocked titanium:sapphire laser is focused at the outlet of a 0.6-micron i.d. capillary, producing pulse intensities of approximately 10(12) W cm-2 within a femtoliter focal volume. Hydroxyindole molecules migrating through the outlet aperture of the capillary intersect the beam focus, where absorption of three to four photons (approximately 1.65 eV photon-1) initiates a photobleaching reaction. The resultant hydroxyindole photoproducts produce broadband visible emission (lambdamax approximately 500 nm) when excited with two additional near-IR photons and appear substantially more resistant to photobleaching than the parent hydroxyindoles. This multiphoton-induced conversion of analytes to hyperluminescent derivatives thus offers a more sensitive approach than UV fluorescence for detecting extremely small quantities of material. Mixtures of the hydroxyindoles serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine), 5-hydroxytryptophan, and 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid are reliably characterized (relative error approximately 10%) in 100 s, with detection limits as low as approximately 70 zmol (approximately 42,000 molecules). The sensitivity of this measurement strategy improves on the best previously reported results for capillary separations of indoles by more than one order of magnitude. Copyright 1998 Academic Press.

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