Abstract

We investigate the photon efficiency of frequency-domain fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy, using both theoretical and Monte Carlo methods. Our analysis differs from previous work in that it incorporates the data fitting process used in real experiments, allows for the arbitrary choice of excitation and gain waveforms, and calculates lifetimes as well as associated F-values from higher harmonics in the data. Using our analysis, we found different photon efficiencies to those previously reported and were able to propose optimal excitation and gain waveforms. Additionally, we suggest measurement protocols that lead to further improvement in photon efficiency. We compare our results to other techniques for lifetime imaging and consider the implications of our higher-harmonic analysis for multi-exponential lifetime determination.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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