Fractal fluorescence decay (FFD)


Fractal fluorescence decay (FFD) is used to analyze the autofluorescence behavior of biological structures and tissues. It provides biochemical information on tested samples. The non-contact and marker-free method does not require the samples to be prepared and allows examination in real time, which makes it easy to integrate into existing processes.

The method was developed in the context of optical cancer diagnosis (OCD). In addition to the analysis of biological structures, new areas of application have opened up to FFD as a non-destructive test method for technical and industrial topics.

FFD is based on laser-induced autofluorescence excitation and can be applied to individual points or as a two-dimensional matrix. The decay of the samples allows conclusions on the fractal dimension parameters, leading to biochemical information. This means that differential measurements are possible, in addition to collecting global information. Since it is fairly easy to set up, FFD can be combined well with other optical measurement methods. This allows for the comprehensive analysis and characterization of material samples.

Optical cancer diagnosis (OCD) – Diagnosing prostatic tissue fast and safely

© Fraunhofer IKTS
Second prototype of the diagnostic system for optical cancer diagnosis.

OCD stands for optical cancer diagnostics. An optical analysis developed by Fraunhofer IKTS, the OCD device enables physicians to reliably distinguish carcinoma tissue from non-carcinoma tissue within 1.5 minutes.

The analyses make use of the autofluorescence of human tissue. A dosed laser pulse excites the fluorescent molecules within the tissue so that they emit light, depending on the type of tissue. The way benign tissue fluoresces is different from the way malign tissue does. The device automatically analyzes the differences and classes the sample taken.

After completing two successful clinical studies, the diagnosis device is currently undergoing the third study.

Services offered for fractal fluorescence decay (FFD) and OCD


  • Contract research and collaborative projects
  • Development of user-specific laboratory stations and test stands