A multicolor fluorescence imaging system applied to medical diagnostics is described. The system presented simultaneously records four fluorescence images in different wavelength bands, permitting low-resolution spectroscopy imaging. An arithmetic function image of the four spectral images is constructed by a pixel-to-pixel calculation and is presented on a monitor in false-color coding. A sensitive detector is required for minimizing the excitation energy necessary to obtain an image and thus avoid side effects on the investigated tissue. Characteristics of the system of importance for the detector sensitivity as well as image quality are discussed. A high degree of suppression of ambient background light is reached with this system by the use of a pulsed laser as an excitation source together with gated detection. Examples of fluorescence images from tumors on the hind legs and in the brain of rats injected with Photofrin are given.
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