We report the demonstration of time-correlated single-photon counting (TCSPC) fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) to ex vivo decayed and healthy dentinal tooth structures, using a white-light supercontinuumexcitation source. By using a 100 fs-pulsed Ti:Sapphire laser with a low-frequency chirp topump a 30-cm long section of photonic crystal fibre, a ps-pulsed white-light supercontinuum was created. Optical bandpass interference filters were then applied to this broad-bandwidth source to select the 488-nm excitation wavelength required to perform TCSPC FLIM of dental structures. Decayed dentine showed significantly shorter lifetimes, discriminating it from healthy tissue and hard, stained and thus affected but noninfected material. The white-light generation source provides a flexible method of producing variable-bandwidth visible and ps-pulsed light for TCSPC FLIM. The results from the dental tissue indicate a potential method of discriminating diseased tissue from sound, but stained tissue,which could be of crucial importance in limiting tissue resection during preparation for clinical restorations.
- 42.62.Be Biological and medical applications
- 42.65.-k nonlinear optics
- 87.64.Ni optical absorption
- magnetic circular dichroism
- fluorescence spectroscopy