We report a wide-field fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) system that uses a blue picosecond pulsed diode laser as the excitation source. This represents a significant miniaturization and simplification compared with other time-domain FLIM instruments that should accelerate the development of clinical and real-world applications of FLIM. We have demonstrated this instrument in two configurations: a macroimaging setup applied to multiwell plate assays of chemically and biologically interesting fluorophores and a microscope system that has been applied to imaging of tissue sections. The importance of the adjustable repetition rate of this laser source is discussed with respect to noise reduction and precision in the lifetime determination, illustrating a further significant advantage over conventional mode-locked solid-state lasers.
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