Mesoscopic fluorescence lifetime imaging: Fundamental principles, clinical applications and future directions

Alba Alfonso-Garcia, Julien Bec, Brent Weyers, Mark Marsden, Xiangnan Zhou, Cai Li, Laura Marcu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIm) is an optical spectroscopic imaging technique capable of real-time assessments of tissue properties in clinical settings. Label-free FLIm is sensitive to changes in tissue structure and biochemistry resulting from pathological conditions, thus providing optical contrast to identify and monitor the progression of disease. Technical and methodological advances over the last two decades have enabled the development of FLIm instrumentation for real-time, in situ, mesoscopic imaging compatible with standard clinical workflows. Herein, we review the fundamental working principles of mesoscopic FLIm, discuss the technical characteristics of current clinical FLIm instrumentation, highlight the most commonly used analytical methods to interpret fluorescence lifetime data and discuss the recent applications of FLIm in surgical oncology and cardiovascular diagnostics. Finally, we conclude with an outlook on the future directions of clinical FLIm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Biophotonics
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • cardiovascular imaging
  • FLIm
  • fluorescence lifetime imaging
  • image-guided surgery
  • intraoperative tumor delineation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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