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Estimation of signal parameters via rotational invariance techniques is a classical algorithm widely used in array signal processing for direction-of-arrival estimation of emitters. Inspired by this method, a new signal model and a new fluorescence lifetime estimation via rotational invariance techniques (FLERIT) were developed for multi-exponential fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) experiments. The FLERIT only requires a few time bins of a histogram generated by a time-correlated single photon counting FLIM system, greatly reducing the data throughput from the imager to the signal processing units. As a non-iterative method, the FLERIT does not require initial conditions, prior information nor model selection that are usually required by widely used traditional fitting methods, including nonlinear least square methods or maximum likelihood methods. Moreover, its simplicity means it is suitable for implementations in embedded systems for real-time applications. FLERIT was tested on synthesized and experimental fluorescent cell data showing the potentials to be widely applied in FLIM data analysis.
- fluorescence microscopy
- fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy
- time correlated single photon counting
- time resolved imaging