Blind deconvolution estimation of fluorescence measurements through quadratic programming.
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Time-deconvolution of the instrument response from fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) data is usually necessary for accurate fluorescence lifetime estimation. In many applications, however, the instrument response is not available. In such cases, a blind deconvolution approach is required. An iterative methodology is proposed to address the blind deconvolution problem departing from a dataset of FLIM measurements. A linear combination of a base conformed by Laguerre functions models the fluorescence impulse response of the sample at each spatial point in our formulation. Our blind deconvolution estimation (BDE) algorithm is formulated as a quadratic approximation problem, where the decision variables are the samples of the instrument response and the scaling coefficients of the basis functions. In the approximation cost function, there is a bilinear dependence on the decision variables. Hence, due to the nonlinear nature of the estimation process, an alternating least-squares scheme iteratively solves the approximation problem. Our proposal searches for the samples of the instrument response with a global perspective, and the scaling coefficients of the basis functions locally at each spatial point. First, the iterative methodology relies on a least-squares solution for the instrument response, and quadratic programming for the scaling coefficients applied just to a subset of the measured fluorescence decays to initially estimate the instrument response to speed up the convergence. After convergence, the final stage computes the fluorescence impulse response at all spatial points. A comprehensive validation stage considers synthetic and experimental FLIM datasets of ex vivo atherosclerotic plaques and human breast cancer cell samples that highlight the advantages of the proposed BDE algorithm under different noise and initial conditions in the iterative scheme and parameters of the proposal.