Dynamic fluorescence lifetime sensing with CMOS single-photon avalanche diode arrays and deep learning processors

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Measuring fluorescence lifetimes of fast-moving cells or particles have broad applications in biomedical sciences. This paper presents a dynamic fluorescence lifetime sensing (DFLS) system based on the time-correlated single-photon counting (TCSPC) principle. It integrates a CMOS 192 × 128 single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) array, offering an enormous photon-counting throughput without pile-up effects. We also proposed a quantized convolutional neural network (QCNN) algorithm and designed a field-programmable gate array embedded processor for fluorescence lifetime determinations. The processor uses a simple architecture, showing unparallel advantages in accuracy, analysis speed, and power consumption. It can resolve fluorescence lifetimes against disturbing noise. We evaluated the DFLS system using fluorescence dyes and fluorophore-tagged microspheres. The system can effectively measure fluorescence lifetimes within a single exposure period of the SPAD sensor, paving the way for portable time-resolved devices and shows potential in various applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3450-3462
Number of pages13
JournalBiomedical Optics Express
Issue number6
Early online date17 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • fluorescence lifetime
  • dynamic fluorescence lifetime sensing (DFLS)
  • quantized convolutional neural network (QCNN)

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