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Semi-autonomous real-time programmable fluorescence lifetime segmentation with a digital micromirror device

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number338347
JournalOPTICS EXPRESS
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
Accepted/In press22 Aug 2018
Published12 Nov 2018

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Abstract

Time-correlated single-photon counting (TCSPC) is the gold standard for
performing lifetime spectroscopy in biological assays. Traditional fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) using laser scanning microscopes are inherently slow due to point scanning all pixels in the field-of-view. Wide-field implementations of TCSPC spectroscopy using microchannel plates benefit from particularly fast acquisition times at the expense of temporal resolution, and are fundamentally limited by photon counting rates. Here, we introduce programmable lifetime imaging (PLI), combining the advantages of wide-field imaging using total internal reflection excitation with state-of-the-art TCSPC detector technology for accurate lifetime determination in an object-oriented manner using a digital micromirror device (DMD). The fluorescent emission is projected onto the DMD to facilitate the sequential segmentation of fluorescence from individual objects in the field-of-view, allowing for both image acquisition and fluorescence lifetime determination of the assay. The sensitivity of PLI is demonstrated by manually segmenting fluorescence from fixed cell assays. We also demonstrate an automated implementation of PLI, using a camera as a feedback mechanism to segment fluorescence produced by emitting objects of interest in the imaging field-of-view, highlighting the advantages of measurement only in areas where valuable information exists. As a result, PLI is able to reduce acquisition time of fluorescence
lifetime data by at least an order of magnitude compared to laser scanning implementations.

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