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J Biomed Opt. 2010 Mar-Apr;15(2):026005. doi: 10.1117/1.3368997.

Low-frequency wide-field fluorescence lifetime imaging using a high-power near-infrared light-emitting diode light source.

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  • 1Boston University, 48 Cummington Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLi) could potentially improve exogenous near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging, because it offers the capability of discriminating a signal of interest from background, provides real-time monitoring of a chemical environment, and permits the use of several different fluorescent dyes having the same emission wavelength. We present a high-power, LED-based, NIR light source for the clinical translation of wide-field (larger than 5 cm in diameter) FLi at frequencies up to 35 MHz. Lifetime imaging of indocyanine green (ICG), IRDye 800-CW, and 3,3(')-diethylthiatricarbocyanine iodide (DTTCI) was performed over a large field of view (10 cm by 7.5 cm) using the LED light source. For comparison, a laser diode light source was employed as a gold standard. Experiments were performed both on the bench by diluting the fluorescent dyes in various chemical environments in Eppendorf tubes, and in vivo by injecting the fluorescent dyes mixed in Matrigel subcutaneously into CD-1 mice. Last, measured fluorescence lifetimes obtained using the LED and the laser diode sources were compared with those obtained using a state-of-the-art time-domain imaging system and with those previously described in the literature. On average, lifetime values obtained using the LED and the laser diode light sources were consistent, exhibiting a mean difference of 3% from the expected values and a coefficient of variation of 12%. Taken together, our study offers an alternative to laser diodes for clinical translation of FLi and explores the use of relatively low frequency modulation for in vivo imaging.

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