Abstract

When a fluorescence photon is emitted from a molecule within a living cell it carries a signature that can potentially identify the molecule and provide information on the microenvironment in which it resides, thereby providing insights into the physiology of the cell. To unambiguously identify fluorescent probes and monitor their physiological environment within living specimens by their fluorescent signatures, one must exploit as much of this information as possible. We describe the development and implementation of a combined two-photon spectral and lifetime microscope. Fluorescence lifetime images from 16 individual wavelength components of the emission spectrum can be acquired with 10-nm resolution on a pixel-by-pixel basis. The instrument provides a unique visualization of cellular structures and processes through spectrally and temporally resolved information and may ultimately find applications in live cell and tissue imaging.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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