On synthetic instrument response functions of time-correlated single-photon counting based fluorescence lifetime imaging analysis

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Abstract

Time-correlated single-photon counting (TCSPC) has been the gold standard for fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) techniques due to its high signal-to-noize ratio and high temporal resolution. The sensor system's temporal instrument response function (IRF) should be considered in the deconvolution procedure to extract the real fluorescence decay to compensate for the distortion on measured decays contributed by the system imperfections. However, to measure the instrument response function is not trivial, and the measurement setup is different from measuring the real fluorescence. On the other hand, automatic synthetic IRFs can be directly derived from the recorded decay profiles and provide appropriate accuracy. This paper proposed and examined a synthetic IRF strategy. Compared with traditional automatic synthetic IRFs, the new proposed automatic synthetic IRF shows a broader dynamic range and better accuracy. To evaluate its performance, we examined simulated data using nonlinear least square deconvolution based on both the Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm and the Laguerre expansion method for bi-exponential fluorescence decays. Furthermore, experimental FLIM data of cells were also analyzed using the proposed synthetic IRF. The results from both the simulated data and experimental FLIM data show that the proposed synthetic IRF has a better performance compared to traditional synthetic IRFs. Our work provides a faster and precise method to obtain IRF, which may find various FLIM-based applications. We also reported in which conditions a measured or a synthesized IRF can be applied.

Original languageEnglish
Article number635645
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Physics
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • time-resolved imaging
  • photon counting
  • deconvolution
  • fluorescence microscopy
  • medical and biological imaging
  • instrument response function

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