We present the use of a commercially available electrically tunable lens to achieve axial scanning in a reflectance confocal microscope. Over a 255 μm axial scan range, the lateral and axial resolutions varied from 1-2 μm and 4-14 μm, respectively, dependent on the variable focal length of the tunable lens. Confocal imaging was performed on normal human biopsies from the oral cavity ex vivo. Sub-cellular morphologic features were seen throughout the depth of the epithelium while axially scanning using the focus tunable lens.
Optical imaging techniques using a variety of contrast mechanisms are under evaluation for early detection of epithelial precancer; however, tradeoffs in field of view (FOV) and resolution may limit their application. Therefore, we present a multiscale multimodal optical imaging system combining macroscopic biochemical imaging of fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) with subcellular morphologic imaging of reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM). The FLIM module images a 16×16 mm2 tissue area with 62.5 μm lateral and 320 ps temporal resolution to guide cellular imaging of suspicious regions. Subsequently, coregistered RCM images are acquired at 7 Hz with 400 μm diameter FOV, <1 μm lateral and 3.5 μm axial resolution. FLIM-RCM imaging was performed on a tissue phantom, normal porcine buccal mucosa, and a hamster cheek pouch model of oral carcinogenesis. While FLIM is sensitive to biochemical and macroscopic architectural changes in tissue, RCM provides images of cell nuclear morphology, all key indicators of precancer progression.
A highly sensitive, shot-noise-limited Raman signal acquisition is achieved using frequency-time transformation in a single-mode fiber and time-correlated photon counting system. To spectrally disperse Raman signal excited by a picosecond laser pulse, the light is directed into a sufficiently long single-mode fiber. The output end of the fiber is coupled into a time-gated photon multiplier tube (PMT). Due to a frequency-time conversion provided by the fiber core, photons of different frequencies experience different transient times. In this way, by measuring the photons’ arrival time, Raman peaks can be recorded and separated. Moreover, in some cases the fluorescence background can be eliminated from Raman signals due to its much longer life-time. Consequently, a fluorescent background free Raman spectrum can be attained using the time-correlated photon-counting Raman spectroscopy. In this report, by using a 400m SM600 single-mode fiber and a Hamamatsu R3809U-50 PMT, we demonstrate the Raman spectrum of dimethyl sulfoxide excited by a short-pulsed laser.
Current methods for detection of oral cancer lack the ability to delineate between normal and precancerous tissue
with adequate sensitivity and specificity. The usual diagnostic mechanism involves visual inspection and palpation
followed by tissue biopsy and histopathology, a process both invasive and time-intensive. A more sensitive and
objective screening method can greatly facilitate the overall process of detection of early cancer. To this end, we
present a multimodal imaging system with fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) for wide field of view guidance
and reflectance confocal microscopy for sub-cellular resolution imaging of epithelial tissue. Moving from a 12 x 12
mm2 field of view with 157 ìm lateral resolution using FLIM to 275 x 200 μm2 with lateral resolution of 2.2 μm using confocal microscopy, hamster cheek pouch model is imaged both in vivo and ex vivo. The results indicate that
our dual modality imaging system can identify and distinguish between different tissue features, and, therefore, can
potentially serve as a guide in early oral cancer detection..