Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy: The case of subdiffusion

Ariel Lubelski, Joseph Klafter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The theory of fluorescence correlation spectroscopy is revisited here for the case of subdiffusing molecules. Subdiffusion is assumed to stem from a continuous-time random walk process with a fat-tailed distribution of waiting times and can therefore be formulated in terms of a fractional diffusion equation (FDE). The FDE plays the central role in developing the fluorescence correlation spectroscopy expressions, analogous to the role played by the simple diffusion equation for regular systems. Due to the nonstationary nature of the continuous-time random walk/FDE, some interesting properties emerge that are amenable to experimental verification and may help in discriminating among subdiffusion mechanisms. In particular, the current approach predicts 1), a strong dependence of correlation functions on the initial time (aging); 2), sensitivity of correlation functions to the averaging procedure, ensemble versus time averaging (ergodicity breaking); and 3), that the basic mean-squared displacement observable depends on how the mean is taken.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2055-2063
Number of pages9
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2009


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