UV/Vis Low-Dispersion Confocal Objective
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. Broadband optics are required to collect emitted or scattered light throughout the visible and ultraviolet regions, with minimal spectral and temporal dispersion. The requirement to perform over a broad bandwidth encompassing the entire UV and visible spectra motivates an all-reflective microscope objective solution. Commercially available all-reflective microscope objectives are based on a two mirror aberration-free system introduced by Karl Schwarzschild. The Schwarzschild microscope objective yields an all-reflective aberration-free solution for conventional compound light microscopes; however, it cannot achieve the numerical apertures or sub-micron spot sizes required for confocal microscope applications. An opportunity exists to fabricate, demonstrate and commercialize a broadband, low-dispersion confocal objective that can achieve the requisite numerical apertures and spot sizes for sub-micron imaging. The proposed design will yield significantly improved performance and also manufacturing benefits. This new microscope objective can leverage current confocal microscope development at the proposing company to streamline the commercialization process.
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