Broadband, zero dispersion hyper-confocal microscope system

Period of Performance: 09/07/2016 - 09/06/2017

$998K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Hnu Photonics
350 Hoohana St Array
Kahului, HI 96732
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Confocal microscopy has become the tool of choice for sub-micron imaging, particularly of biological tissues, and is being used as a diagnostic tool in other disciplines as well. Confocal microscope systems require the use of broadband optics in order for the instrument to collect emitted or scattered light throughout the visible and ultraviolet regions, with minimal spectral and temporal dispersion. Conventional confocal microscope systems utilize refractive achromatic and apochromatic compound microscope objective lenses. These objective lenses can yield two or three-color imaging that is free from spectral dispersion/chromatic aberrations, but cannot provide true broadband capability, nor do they generally allow confocal microscope systems to deliver good performance in the ultraviolet region due to limited available glass types in the UV. Microscopes using commercially available all-reflective objectives can achieve aberration-free imaging at low numerical apertures (NA), but cannot produce sub-micron spot sizes at the higher numerical apertures required for high resolution confocal microscope applications. The light collection efficiency of these objectives is also significantly limited, due to their low numerical aperture, preventing their use in weak fluorescence or low light level scattering applications. There is a market need for advanced broadband, high numerical aperture confocal microscope capable of achieving sub-micron resolution.