University of Alberta, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2V4, Canada.
We present a new integrated micro-endoscopy system combining label-free, fiber-based, real-time C-scan optical-resolution photoacoustic microscopy (F-OR-PAM) and a high-resolution fluorescence micro-endoscopy system for visualizing fluorescently labeled cellular components and optically absorbing microvasculature simultaneously. With a diode-pumped 532-nm fiber laser, the F-OR-PAM sub-system is able to reach a resolution of ∼7 μm. The fluorescence subsystem, which does not require any mechanical scanning, consists of a 447.5-nm-centered diode laser as the light source, an objective lens, and a CCD camera. Proflavine is used as the fluorescent contrast agent by topical application. The scanning laser and the diode laser light source share the same light path within an optical fiber bundle containing 30,000 individual single-mode fibers. The absorption of proflavine at 532 nm is low, which mitigates absorption bleaching of the contrast agent by the photoacoustic excitation source. We demonstrate imaging in live murine models. The system is able to provide cellular morphology with cellular resolution co-registered with the structural information given by F-OR-PAM. Therefore, the system has the potential to serve as a virtual biopsy technique, helping visualize angiogenesis and the effects of anti-cancer drugs on both cells and the microcirculation, as well as aid in the study of other diseases.
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