, Volume 34, Issue 12, pp 1251-1266

Wavelength dependent damage in biological multi-photon confocal microscopy: A micro-spectroscopic comparison between femtosecond Ti:sapphire and Cr:forsterite laser sources

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Molecular excitation by the simultaneous absorption of two photons provides intrinsic three-dimensional resolution in laser scanning fluorescence microscopy. Thus induced two-photon absorption and the accompanied multi-photon absorption/ionization not only cause photo-bleaching but also cell damage in the vicinity of the focal point. In this paper, we study the wavelength dependent cell damage induced by high intensity femtosecond near infrared lasers. The study was performed with a Ti:sapphire laser and a Cr:forsterite laser. With a longer output wavelength from a Cr:forsterite laser, multi-photon absorption and auto-fluorescence were found to be significantly suppressed and the destructive plasma formation was found to be greatly reduced. Sustained multi-photon spectra can be observed in most plant specimens with a tightly focused Cr:forsterite laser beam under long term irradiation with more than 100 mW laser average power. In contrast, multi-photon absorption induced destructive plasma formation were frequently observed with a tightly focused Ti:sapphire laser beam within seconds with more than 10 mW laser average power.