Luminescence Lifetime Imaging of O2 with a Frequency-Domain-Based Camera System

* These authors contributed equally
This article has been accepted and is currently in production

Abstract

We describe a method to image dissolved oxygen (O2), in 2D at high spatial (< 50-100 µm) and temporal (< 10 s) resolution. The method employs O2 sensitive luminescent sensor foils (planar optodes) in combination with a specialized camera system for imaging luminescence lifetime in the frequency-domain. Planar optodes are prepared by dissolving the O2-sensitive indicator dye in a polymer and spreading the mixture on a solid support in a defined thickness via knife coating. After evaporation of the solvent, the planar optode is placed in close contact with the sample of interest - here demonstrated with the roots of the aquatic plant Littorella uniflora. The O2 concentration-dependent change in the luminescence lifetime of the indicator dye within the planar optode is imaged via the backside of the transparent carrier foil and aquarium wall using a special camera. This camera measures the luminescence lifetime (µs) via a shift in phase angle between a modulated excitation signal and emission signal. This method is superior to luminescence intensity imaging methods, as the signal is independent of the dye concentration or intensity of the excitation source, and solely relies on the luminescence decay time, which is an intrinsically referenced parameter. Consequently, an additional reference dye or other means of referencing are not needed. We demonstrate the use of the system for macroscopic O2 imaging of plant rhizospheres, but the camera system can also easily be coupled to a microscope.