For that purpose, we have developed a wide-field time-gated fluorescence lifetime microscope based on structured illumination and one-photon excitation to record FAD lifetime images from corneas. NADH imaging was not considered as its UV excitation peak is regarded as not safe for in vivo measurements. The microscope relies on a pulsed blue diode laser (λ=443 nm) as excitation source, an ultra-high speed gated image intensifier coupled to a CCD camera to acquire fluorescence signals and a Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) to implement the Structured Illumination technique. The system has a lateral resolution better than 2.4 μm, a field of view of 160 per 120 μm and an optical sectioning of 6.91 +/- 0.45 μm when used with a 40x, 0.75 NA, Water Immersion Objective.
With this setup we were able to measure FAD contributions from ex-vivo chicken corneas collected from a local slaughterhouse..