Multiparallel Three-Dimensional Optical Microscopy

Multiparallel three-dimensional optical microscopy is a method of forming an approximate three-dimensional image of a microscope sample as a collection of images from different depths through the sample. The imaging apparatus includes a single microscope plus an assembly of beam splitters and mirrors that divide the output of the microscope into multiple channels. An imaging array of photodetectors in each channel is located at a different distance along the optical path from the microscope, corresponding to a focal plane at a different depth within the sample. The optical path leading to each photodetector array also includes lenses to compensate for the variation of magnification with distance so that the images ultimately formed on all the photodetector arrays are of the same magnification.

The use of optical components common to multiple channels in a simple geometry makes it possible to obtain high light-transmission efficiency with an optically and mechanically simple assembly. In addition, because images can be read out simultaneously from all the photodetector arrays, the apparatus can support three-dimensional imaging at a high scanning rate.

This work was done by Lam K. Nguyen, Jeffrey H. Price, Albert L. Kellner, and Miguel Bravo-Zanoquera of the University of California for Johnson Space Center. For further information, contact the JSC Innovation Partnerships Office at (281) 483-3809. In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor has elected to retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its commercial use should be addressed to:

University of California, San Diego
Technology Transfer and Intellectual
Property Services
9500 Gilman Drive, Dept. 0910
La Jolla, CA 92093-0910
Phone No.: (858) 534-5815
Fax No.: (858) 534-7345

Refer to MSC-23851-1, volume and number of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the page number.

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