At pH 7 and with the excitation at wavelengths above 315 nm, previously unreported fluorescence of 5-HT (5-hydroxytryptamine) is observed. Two fluorescence bands were observed for 5-HT; the first emits at around 390 nm with an associated lifetime near 1 ns, and the other (well known) emits at 340 nm with an associated lifetime of 2.7 ns. With both static and time-resolved fluorescences, the spectral and temporal effects of the excitation wavelength were studied between 285 and 340 nm. With these basic spectroscopic properties as a starting point, a fiber-optic chemical sensor (FOCS) was developed in order to measure 5-HT with a single-fiber configuration, nitrogen laser excitation, and fast digitizing techniques. Temporal effects including fluorescence of the optical fiber were studied and compared with measurements both directly in cuvette and through the fiber-optic sensor. Less than thirty seconds are required for each measurement. A detection limit of 5-HT is reached in the range of 5 μM. Our system, with an improved sensitivity, could therefore be a possible and convenient "tool" for <i>in vivo</i> determination of 5-HT.

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