Time-domain laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy apparatus for clinical diagnostics Academic Article uri icon

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  • We report the design and development of a compact optical fiber-based apparatus for in situ time-resolved laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy (tr-LIFS) of biological systems. The apparatus is modular, optically robust, and compatible with the clinical environment. It incorporates a dual output imaging spectrograph, a gated multichannel plate photomultiplier (MCP-PMT), an intensified charge-coupled-device (ICCD) camera, and a fast digitizer. It can accommodate various types of light sources and optical fiber probes for selective excitation and remote light delivery/collection as required by different applications. The apparatus allows direct recording of the entire fluorescence decay with high sensitivity (nM range fluorescein dye concentration with signal-to-noise ratio of 46) and with four decades dynamic range. It is capable of resolving a broad range of fluorescence lifetimes from hundreds of picoseconds (as low as 300 ps) using the MCP-PMT coupled to the digitizer to milliseconds using the ICCD. The data acquisition and analysis process is fully automated, enabling fast recording of fluorescence intensity decay across the entire emission spectrum (0.8 s per wavelength or ~40 s for a 200 nm wavelength range at 5 nm increments). The spectral and temporal responses of the apparatus were calibrated and its performance was validated using fluorescence lifetime standard dyes (Rhodamin B, 9-cyanoanthracene, and rose Bengal) and tissue endogenous fluorophores (elastin, collagen, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, and flavin adenine dinucleotide). Fluorescence decay lifetimes and emission spectra of all tested compounds measured with the current tr-LIFS apparatus were found in good agreement with the values reported in the literature. The design and performance of tr-LIFS apparatus have enabled in vivo studies of atherosclerotic plaques and brain tumors.


  • Fang, Qiyin
  • Papaioannou, Thanassis
  • Jo, Javier A
  • Vaitha, Russel
  • Shastry, Kumar
  • Marcu, Laura

publication date

  • January 2004