The novel compact femtosecond NIR (near infrared) laser imaging system DermaInspect was used to perform for the first time in vivo high resolution non-invasive 4D tomography of human skin based on multiphoton autofluorescence imaging and second harmonic generation (SHG). Using fast galvoscan mirrors, a time correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) module and femtosecond 80 MHz laser pulses in the spectral range of 750 nm-850 nm human skin was analyzed with subcellular spatial resolution (3D) and 250 ps temporal resolution (4D). The non-linear induced autofluorescence originates from naturally endogenous fluorophores and protein structures like NAD(P)H, flavins, phorphyrins, melanin, elastin and collagen. Collagenous structures were detected using SHG. Tissues of patients with dermatological disorders like nevi and melanoma have been investigated with a clear visualization of cells and intratissue
structures. Further characterization of those components was performed by the fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) and the determination of two photon excitation spectra. This method of non invasive high resolution optical biopsy provides a painless diagnostic tool for dermatological applications.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.