11 May 2007 Time-resolved confocal fluorescence microscopy: novel technical features and applications for FLIM, FRET and FCS using a sophisticated data acquisition concept in TCSPC
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In recent years time-resolved fluorescence measurement and analysis techniques became a standard in single molecule microscopy. However, considering the equipment and experimental implementation they are typically still an add-on and offer only limited possibilities to study the mutual dependencies with common intensity and spectral information. In contrast, we are using a specially designed instrument with an unrestricted photon data acquisition approach which allows to store spatial, temporal, spectral and intensity information in a generalized format preserving the full experimental information. This format allows us not only to easily study dependencies between various fluorescence parameters but also to use, for example, the photon arrival time for sorting and weighting the detected photons to improve the significance in common FCS and FRET analysis schemes. The power of this approach will be demonstrated for different techniques: In FCS experiments the concentration determination accuracy can be easily improved by a simple time-gated photon analysis to suppress the fast decaying background signal. A more detailed analysis of the arrival times allows even to separate FCS curves for species which differ in their fluorescence lifetime but, for example, cannot be distinguished spectrally. In multichromophoric systems like a photonic wire which undergoes unidirectional multistep FRET the lifetime information complements significantly the intensity based analysis and helps to assign the respective FRET partners. Moreover, together with pulsed excitation the time-correlated analysis enables directly to take advantage of alternating multi-colour laser excitation. This pulsed interleaved excitation (PIE) can be used to identify and rule out inactive FRET molecules which cause interfering artefacts in standard FRET efficiency analysis. We used a piezo scanner based confocal microscope with compact picosecond diode lasers as excitation sources. The timing performance can be significantly increased by using new SPAD detectors which enable, in conjunction with new TCSPC electronics, an overall IRF width of less than 120 ps maintaining single molecule sensitivity.
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Felix Koberling, Benedikt Krämer, Peter Kapusta, Matthias Patting, Michael Wahl, Rainer Erdmann, "Time-resolved confocal fluorescence microscopy: novel technical features and applications for FLIM, FRET and FCS using a sophisticated data acquisition concept in TCSPC", Proc. SPIE 6583, Photon Counting Applications, Quantum Optics, and Quantum Cryptography, 65830Y (11 May 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.722867; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.722867

Fluorescence resonance energy transfer



Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy

Confocal microscopy

Data acquisition

Fluorescence lifetime imaging

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