Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Blind and reference-free fluorescence lifetime estimation via consumer time-of-flight sensors

Ayush just sent me the following:

Hi Igor:

I have been an avid follower of you blog since time immemorial. ;)

I am not sure if the content of this email is interesting for your blog but given your recent discussion on computational imaging, I would like to bring to your notice a recent paper of ours that appeared in the latest volume of Optica.

The theme of this paper is to show that Kinect-like Time-of-Flight sensors can be used for purposes that go beyond conventional depth imaging.

The particular application we had in mind was Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging. Conventional apparatus costs about $1000K however, by re-purposing ToF sensors, we can convert Kinect into a lifetime estimation device.

The project website is here: http://fli-tof.info

A more user-friendly coverage on MIT news is here:

In case you think that this work is of interest to your audience, may I please request you to keep this email private?

Now that we have a functional proof-of-concept, we are discussing more theoretical aspects of the work which is in pipeline.

Awesomeness (of the paper) and flattery always work Ayush !

Fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLI) is a popular method for extracting useful information that is otherwise unavailable from a conventional intensity image. Usually, however, it requires expensive equipment, is often limited to either distinctly frequency- or time-domain modalities, and demands calibration measurements and precise knowledge of the illumination signal. Here, we present a generalized time-based, cost-effective method for estimating lifetimes by repurposing a consumer-grade time-of-flight sensor. By developing mathematical theory that unifies time- and frequency-domain approaches, we can interpret a time-based signal as a combination of multiple frequency measurements. We show that we can estimate lifetimes without knowledge of the illumination signal and without any calibration. We experimentally demonstrate this blind, reference-free method using a quantum dot solution and discuss the method’s implementation in FLI applications.

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