Fluorescein is a synthetic organic compound available as a dark orange/red powder slightly soluble in water and alcohol. It is widely used as a fluorescent tracer for many applications.
Fluorescein is a fluorophore commonly used in microscopy, in a type of dye laser as the gain medium, in forensics and serology to detect latent blood stains, and in dye tracing. Fluorescein has an absorption maximum at 494nm and emission maximum of 512nm (in water). The major derivatives are fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) and, in oligonucleotide synthesis, 6-FAM phosphoramidite.
Fluorescein also has an isosbestic point (equal absorption for all pH values) at 460nm. Fluorescein is also known as a color additive (D&C Yellow no. 7). The disodium salt form of fluorescein is known as uranine or D&C Yellow no. 8.
The color of its aqueous solution varies from green to orange as a function of the way it is observed: by reflection or by transmission, as can be noticed in bubble levels, for example; in which fluorescein is added as a colorant to the alcohol filling the tube in order to increase the visibility of the air bubble contained within (thus enhancing the precision of the instrument). More concentrated solutions of fluorescein can even appear red.