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    Two-photon Phosphorescence Lifetime Microscopy (2PLM) is an emerging nonlinear optical technique that has great potential to improve our understanding of the basic biology underlying human health and disease. Although analogous to 2-photon Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy (2P-FLIM), the contrast in 2PLM is fundamentally different from various intensity-based forms of imaging since it is based on the lifetime of an excited state and can be regarded as a "functional imaging" technique. 2PLM signal originates from the deactivation of the excited triplet state (phosphorescence) [1, 2]. Typically, this triplet state is a much longer-lived excited state than the singlet excited state resulting in phosphorescence emission times of microseconds to milliseconds at room temperature as opposed to nanoseconds for fluorescence emission [3]. The long-lived nature of the triplet state makes it highly sensitive to quenching molecules in the surrounding environment such as biomolecular oxygen (O2). Therefore, 2PLM can provide not only information on the distribution pattern of the probe in the sample (via intensity) but also determine the local oxygen tension (via phosphorescence lifetime quenching) [1]. The ability to create three-dimensional optical sections in the plane of focus within a thick biological specimen while maintaining relatively low phototoxicity due to the use of near-infrared wavelengths for two-photon excitation gives 2PLM powerful advantages over other techniques for longitudinal imaging and monitoring of oxygen within living organisms [4]. In this chapter, we will provide background on the development of 2PLM, discuss the most common oxygen sensing measurement methods and concepts, and explain the general principles and optical configuration of a 2PLM system. We also discuss the key characteristics and strategies for improvement of the technique. Finally, we will present an overview of the current primary scientific literature of how 2PLM has been used for oxygen sensing in biological applications and how this technique is improving our understanding of the basic biology underlying several areas of human health.


    Nastaran Abbasizadeh, Joel A Spencer. Two-Photon Phosphorescence Lifetime Microscopy. Advances in experimental medicine and biology. 2021;3233:63-82

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    PMID: 34053023

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