Features

Biomedical Imaging Using Ultrashort Laser Pulses

The field of optical microscopy experienced significant gains in resolution and speed following the introduction of lasers. Unfortunately, these gains came at the expense of sample degradation caused by the continuous flux of intense light. Taking advantage of the two-photon absorption process, Webb and Denk implemented a microscope based on the use of near-IR light pulses capable of causing simultaneous multiple fluorophore excitation. Two-photon microscopy is now widely applied in the biomedical imaging field due to the absence of out-of-focus photobleaching and reduced photodamage and fluorescence scattering. These advantages are brought about collectively by the inherent instantaneous peak intensity and narrow focal plane of excitation. Given that peak intensity increases with decreasing laser pulse duration, one would expect extensive use of available ultrashort (sub-10 fs) pulse laser systems in the field of biomedical imaging. However, most two-photon microscopes still use the same pulse duration that Webb and Denk used in 1990 (≈150 fs).

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics

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Product of the Month: Fiber-Coupled Solid State Laser

Point Source (Hamble, UK) introduces the iFLEX-Mustang, a fiber-coupled solid-state laser with on-board modulation. Using single-mode and polarization preserving fiber, the iFLEX-Mustang delivers 25mW of power with a polarization extinction ratio of greater than 100:1. With an operating wavelength of 488 or 561nm and output power (from the fiber) of 25mW, the Mustang is ideal for use in bio-medical instrumentation and specialized semiconductor metrology. The unit’s power can be modulated at up to 2MHz, with a rise and fall time of 150ns and a dynamic range of 30dB. The Mustang is stable to better than 2% over four hours, and has noise of less than 0.3% over the frequency range 20Hz to 2MHz. A detachable fiber is included, simplifying installation and field servicing.

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Laser Bars

OSRAM Opto Semiconductors (Santa Clara, CA) offers laser bars with a wavelength of 910 to 980 nm that achieve an optical output of 120W under real-world conditions and a typical efficiency of 70%. The laser bars have a 50% fill factor (the ratio of active width to overall width) and they are ideal for pumping solid-state lasers and direct material processing. OSRAM also plans to produce laser bars with wavelengths of 808 nm and 880 nm, which will deliver an efficiency of 62% at 120W. Structures with a fill factor of 20% are also available and are ideal for optical fiber coupling applications.

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Remote Head Camera

Toshiba Imaging Systems Division (Irvine, CA) introduces the remote head IK-TF7H7U camera. The progressive scan model delivers true color video output of 1024 × 768 pixels at 30 frames per second at full frame and up to 90 frames per second in partial scan mode. The camera features 1/100 to 1/100,000 second electronic shuttering capability. The C-mount camera has a digital CameraLink® output for compatible interface with many standard frame grabber boards. The IK-TF7H7U weighs 65g and measures 32.6 mm × 38.6 mm × 41 mm. Two optional cable lengths of 3 and 5 meters are available. The camera is ideal for semiconductor inspection, machine vision, and other remote inspection and analysis tasks.

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Fabry-Perot Etalons

Optical Surfaces Ltd. (Surrey, UK) offers Fabry-Perot etalons in a range of shapes and sizes up to 150 mm in diameter with matching accuracies to lambda/300. Etalons are used in telecommunications, lasers, and spectroscopic applications to measure the wavelength of light. Optical Surfaces Ltd. manufactures Fabry-Perot etalons in two basic forms: air-spaced or solid. Both types can be designed for use at customer-defined wavelengths within the range 190nm to about 2 microns. The Fabry-Perot etalons are available in materials including UV grade Silica and Germanium.

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Infrared Materials

SCHOTT (San Jose, CA) introduces infrared (IR) materials, including Zinc Sulfide (ZnS) and Infrared Chalcogenide glasses. SCHOTT offers its IR material in large sizes and custom shapes, and as windows, domes, or lens blanks. Applications for the IR material include night vision devices, temperature analysis tools, and equipment inspection systems. Regular (FLIR) grade Zinc Sulfide and Multi-spectral (Clear) grade Zinc Sulfide are available. SCHOTT offers five Infrared Chalcogenide glass (IG) variations with excellent transmission and a low thermal change in the refractive index.

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Thermal Imaging InfraRed Camera

Extech Instruments (Waltham, MA) introduces its InfraCAMTM SD Thermal Imaging InfraRed Camera that enables the proactive condition monitoring of electrical systems to detect hot spots and avoid electrical failures. The InfraCAM SD provides an accuracy level of ±2% and a thermal sensitivity of better than 0.18°F. The 3.5-inch color LCD with Advanced Signal Processing offers sharp resolution, while the standard 128MB SD card stores up to 1000 Radiometric JPEG images. All 14,400 thermal pixels of each image can be analyzed using the included QuickReportTM PC Software.

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