As defined by the journal Nature time-gated luminescence “takes advantages of long-lived luminescent probes and time-delayed detection, substantially enhances the signal-to-noise ratio and contrast by suppressing the autofluorescence contribution.”
Atik CEO Stephen Chambers co-authored a white paper on ‘A cost-effective analog method to produce time-gated luminescence images’. An abstract from the paper is below:
Time-gated luminescence images were obtained by analog summation of a series of sequential images that were obtained with a cooled modified interline CCD camera, and a fluorescence microscope modified to use a UV LED for illumination. The interline CCD camera obtains an analog sum of a multi-frame image by not reading out the storage line after each frame is acquired; instead, the charges from the acquisition pixels are transferred to the storage pixels, which adds them to those previously stored; subsequently, the sum of the images is readout from the storage pixels and digitized. The length of the exposure is limited by the capacity of the storage pixels and the rate of generation of background (noise). Previously, the quality of the images obtained with the room temperature camera was degraded by the buildup of thermal noise. The interline transfer, electronically shuttered, cooled astronomy CCD camera, which was modified for analog summation rapidly produced low noise images; yet permitted long exposures. The past problems with lanthanide dyes of low extinction coefficients and equipment cost have now been solved.