Using bovine serum albumin (BSA) as the model protein, normal Raman spectra of fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) conjugated protein were systematically studied for the first time using both solution and the drop coating deposition Raman (DCDR) sampling techniques. The FITC–BSA Raman spectra are dominated by the FITC Raman features that are strongly pH dependent. Current DCDR detection sensitivity obtained with a 10:1 FITC–BSA conjugate is 45 fmol in terms of total protein consumption and ∼15 attomol at laser probed volume. Unlike the FITC–BSA solution Raman spectra, where the FITC Raman features are photostable, concurrent FITC fluorescence and Raman photobleaching is observed in the DCDR spectra of FITC–BSA. While the FITC Raman photobleaching follows a single exponential decay function with a time constant independent of the FITC labeling ratio, the fluorescence background photobleaching is much more complicated and it depends strongly on the FITC labeling ratio and sample conditions. Mechanistically, the FITC Raman photobleaching is believed to be due to photochemical reaction of the FITC molecules in the electronically excited state. The FITC fluorescence photobleaching involves both concentration quenching and photochemical quenching, and the latter may involve a photochemical intermediate that is fluorescence inactive but Raman active.

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