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Keywords:

  • FLIM;
  • global analysis;
  • multicomponent analysis;
  • quenching;
  • sFLIM

Summary

Most treatments of frequency domain lifetime measurements indicate that a set of measurements must be made at multiple frequencies in order to determine the lifetimes of the components in a mixture. Although this is the case in general, under special conditions, single-frequency data can resolve multiple lifetimes. Here, data are presented showing several approaches to determining fluorescence lifetimes in two-component mixtures using single-frequency data. Common to all of the procedures presented is exploitation of variations in the relative contributions of a particular fluorophore to the total fluorescence from a mixture of fluorophores. This variation can be produced intentionally by observing a number of samples which contain different relative amounts of the fluorophores. It can be produced fortuitously by observing spatial variations in a mixture of fluorophores in a specimen or set of specimens observed with a lifetime imaging system. It can also be produced by examination of the lifetime spectrum obtained from a fluorophore mixture or by varying the concentration of a quencher in a fluorophore mixture, in which the two fluorophores have different rate constants for quenching. In many instances, the set of approaches presented here will be unsuitable for examination of arbitrary samples of unknown composition for which the multifrequency approach should be used. However, measurements produced using single-frequency methods may be applied to good effect for controlled experiments having defined fluorophores or sets of fluorophores, particularly in the case of biological lifetime imaging studies.