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Kellerer, Thomas; Janusch, Janko; Freymüller, Christian; Rühm, Adrian; Sroka, Ronald and Hellerer, Thomas (2022): Comprehensive Investigation of Parameters Influencing Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy in Frequency- and Time-Domain Illustrated by Phasor Plot Analysis. In: International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Vol. 23, No. 24, 15885

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Having access to fluorescence lifetime, researchers can reveal in-depth details about the microenvironment as well as the physico-chemical state of the molecule under investigation. However, the high number of influencing factors might be an explanation for the strongly deviating values of fluorescent lifetimes for the same fluorophore reported in the literature. This could be the reason for the impression that inconsistent results are obtained depending on which detection and excitation scheme is used. To clarify this controversy, the two most common techniques for measuring fluorescence lifetimes in the time-domain and in the frequency-domain were implemented in one single microscopy setup and applied to a variety of fluorophores under different environmental conditions such as pH-value, temperature, solvent polarity, etc., along with distinct state forms that depend, for example, on the concentration. From a vast amount of measurement results, both setup- and sample-dependent parameters were extracted and represented using a single display form, the phasor-plot. The measurements showed consistent results between the two techniques and revealed which of the tested parameters has the strongest influence on the fluorescence lifetime. In addition, quantitative guidance as to which technique is most suitable for which research task and how to perform the experiment properly to obtain consistent fluorescence lifetimes is discussed.

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