Optimization of Two-photon Excited Fluorescence Enhancement between Tunable and Broadband Femtosecond Laser Pulse Excitations



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This project explores optimization of two-photon excited fluorescence (TPEF) enhancement between tunable narrowband and un-tuned broadband femtosecond (fs) laser pulse excitations for two-photon microscopy (TPM). The research is conducted preliminarily in time domain and comprehensively in frequency domain to understand the physics behind TPEF enhancement by un-tuned sub-10 fs nearly transform-limited pulse (TLP) versus tunable 140 fs pulse. The preliminary study on inverse proportionality of TPEF yield to fs-pulse duration delimits a general lower-bound to narrowband fs-pulse regime (pulse duration > 40 fs) with assumption of dye-molecule frequency invariant response. Deviations from this inverse proportionality in broadband fs-pulse regime (pulse duration < 40 fs) highlights dye-molecule frequency variant response, necessity of group delay dispersion (GDD) compensation, and broadband TLP for TPEF enhancement.

The follow-up comparative study is made on un-tuned sub-10 fs TLP versus tunable 140 fs pulse excitations using three dye-phantoms (Indo-1, FITC, and TRITC) representative of fluorescent probes with similar TPEF characteristics. The integrated experimental system, with custom-designed GDD compensation, dispersion-less laser-beam expanding and focusing, and compound-lens for efficient fluorescence collection with good spectral resolution, ensures accurate TPEF measurements. Differentiated TPEF enhancements of Indo-1 (1.6), FITC (6.7), and TRITC (5.2) proportionally agree with calculated ones due to the overlap of fs-pulse second harmonic (SH) power spectrum with dye-molecule two-photon excitation (TPE) spectrum. Physically speaking, with broadband sub-10 fs TLP readily involved in both degenerate (v1 = v2) and non-degenerate (v1 ? v2) two-photon absorption (TPA), this un-tuned ultrashort fs-pulse excitation simultaneously allows for more accessibility to TPA-associated final states and diversely promotes population of thus excited dye-molecules with the three dye-phantoms. Under environmental influences (mutual quenching through one-photon absorption(s) and solvent effect), multicolor TPEF enhancement observed from a mixture of the three dyes shows promise of sub-10 fs TLP as simultaneous excitation for multiple-dye labeled samples in contrast to compromised excitation with narrowband fs-pulse tuning. Both single- and multicolor TPEF enhancements clarify tradeoff between tunability of narrowband fs-pulse and un-tuned broadband fs-pulse excitations, being instructive to further considerations on optimization of TPEF enhancement by strategic utilization of broadband fs-pulse for better performance of TPM.