Time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy has been studied to perform minimally invasive optical biopsy in clinical diagnostics. A critical barrier preventing current time-resolved techniques from clinical studies is their impractically long data acquisition time. We have developed an acousto-optic-tunable-filter (AOTF)-based time-resolved fluorescence spectrometer, which is capable of near real-time data acquisition. Both first-order diffraction beams are collected in this AOTF spectrometer, which results in significantly improved overall throughput. Using standard fluorescence dyes, we have demonstrated that this spectrometer can acquire time-resolved spectra within , while its throughput is comparable to a grating-based spectrometer.
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