Fluorescence lifetime versatility is demonstrated by a plethora of applications beyond health science, including characterization of food and wines. FLIm provides label free means to monitor dynamic processes and identify particular traits without compromising sample integrity.
Traditional and current state-of-the-art analysis of wine components can be slow and difficult due to the complexity of wine and the numerous potential interferences. A different approach is to use optical techniques that are feasible with compact and inexpensive light sources. Fluorescence spectroscopy can differentiate among different fluorescent compounds based on their differing excitation and emission wavelengths, while fluorescence lifetime measures the fluorescence intensity decay over time. We propose to use these technologies to obtain spectral and lifetime information from the intrinsic components of wine, in a rapid and multi-dimensional way. Once the sample has been excited (illuminated with a very short pulse of light – less than one nanosecond), we can simultaneously measure the emitted fluorescence at multiple wavelengths, and follow its decay over time, creating output data in two dimensions (wavelength and lifetime). Using both intensity and lifetime parameters we can differentiate between different classes of wine, monitor wine oxidation, and establish correlations with the Harbertson-Adams tannin levels.