White-Light Supercontinuum Laser-Based Multiple Wavelength Excitation for TCSPC-FLIM of Cutaneous Nanocarrier Uptake


We report here on a custom-built time-correlated single photon-counting (TCSPC)-based fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) setup with a continuously tunable white-light supercontinuum laser combined with acousto-optical tunable filters (AOTF) as an excitation source for simultaneous excitation of multiple spectrally separated fluorophores. We characterized the wavelength dependence of the white-light supercontinuum laser pulse properties and demonstrated the performance of the FLIM setup, aiming to show the experimental setup in depth together with a biomedical application. We herein summarize the physical-technical parameters as well as our approach to map the skin uptake of nanocarriers using FLIM with a resolution compared to spectroscopy. As an example, we focus on the penetration study of indocarbocyanine-labeled dendritic core-multishell nanocarriers (CMS-ICC) into reconstructed human epidermis. Unique fluorescence lifetime signatures of indocarbocyanine-labeled nanocarriers indicate nanocarrier-tissue interactions within reconstructed human epidermis, bringing FLIM close to spectroscopic analysis.
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