Abstract

Time-domain fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) and hyper-spectral imaging (HSI) are two advanced microscopy techniques widely used in biological studies. Typically both FLIM and HSI are performed with either a whole-field or raster-scanning approach, which often prove to be technically complex and expensive, requiring the user to accept a compromise among precision, speed, and spatial resolution. We propose the use of a digital micromirror device (DMD) as a spatial illuminator for time-domain FLIM and HSI with a laser diode excitation source. The rather unique features of the DMD allow both random and parallel access to regions of interest (ROIs) on the sample, in a very rapid and repeatable fashion. As a consequence both spectral and lifetime images can be acquired with a precision normally associated with single-point systems but with a high degree of flexibility in their spatial construction. In addition, the DMD system offers a very efficient way of implementing a global analysis approach for FLIM, where average fluorescence decay parameters are first acquired for a ROI and then used as initial estimates in determining their spatial distribution within the ROI. Experimental results obtained on phantoms employing fluorescent dyes clearly show how the DMD method supports both spectral and temporal separation for target identification in HSI and FLIM, respectively.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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