kHz Frame Rate Confocal Imaging

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2014-SIMP-66853
Confocal microscopy give researchers the ability to produce high-resolution, three-dimensional images of subjects as diverse as crystals, cells, and even the fluorescence of single molecules. Although confocal microscopes are a common tool used to generate static images, current instruments cannot capture fast processes such as chemical reactions. Further, confocal microscopy is difficult to use outside of the lab because the instrument must be isolated from vibrations while a sample is scanned.

Purdue University researchers have designed a confocal microscope capable of capturing quantitative images with a frame rate on the scale of kHz, which is faster than the 30 Hz for current microscopy techniques. As opposed to the rectangular scan pattern used in other microscopes, the Purdue researchers' instrument captures pixels along a Lissajous curve whose geometry can be tuned by the user. This scan pattern requires much less time to capture an image. By coupling this scan pattern with image processing software, the potential for this approach is unlocked. For any given frame of a movie, the dark spots within the scan pattern can be statistically interpolated from the scanned pixels and the movement of the image over time. If a high-resolution still image is preferred, then individual frames are combined, like those in a panoramic photograph, to assemble the high-resolution image. In this way, both low-resolution movies and high-resolution stills can be captured from the same data set. This combination of Lissajous scan-pattern and software processing shows promise for faster detection of microscopic processes and is flexible enough to be extended for long-distance applications like lidar.

Advantages:
-Much faster frame rate than current confocal microscopes
-Raw data can be used to generate high-resolution still image
-Generation of a high-frame rate, lower-resolution movie

Potential Applications:
-Microscopy applications where movement distortion is a problem
-Microscope use in exotic environments
-Lidar telescopes
-Scanned laser imaging
Jun 10, 2015
Utility Patent
United States
9,784,960
Oct 10, 2017

Oct 4, 2017
CON-Patent
United States
(None)
(None)

Jun 10, 2014
Provisional-Patent
United States
(None)
(None)
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