SBIR Phase I: Fast Focus and Zoom in Microscopy

SBIR Phase I: Fast Focus and Zoom in Microscopy

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1819493
Agency Tracking Number: 1819493
Amount: $225,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2018
Solicitation Year: 2017
Solicitation Topic Code: MI
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
280 W Kagy Blvd Ste D #215, Bozeman, MT, 59715
DUNS: 079839877
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Sarah Lukes
 (406) 581-9228
 slukes@agilefocusdesigns.com
Business Contact
 Sarah Lukes
Phone: (406) 581-9228
Email: slukes@agilefocusdesigns.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will enable fast focusing and zoom in microscopy with an optomechanical system consisting of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) mirrors. The microscope add-on will enable fast 3D imaging in wide-field microscopes and increase focusing and zoom speeds by 100x when compared with conventional methods in confocal and multiphoton microscopy. The technology allows the sample stage and objective lens turret to remain stationary during experiments. It will increase throughput, preserve sensitive samples, enable observation of dynamic events, and reduce training time. The innovation will spur significant discovery in understanding dynamic reactions that occur in in vivo and in vitro microscopy. The initial target market has an estimated gross revenue of $75M. The technology also promises to benefit 3D imaging systems for manufacturing or machine vision, optical coherence tomography, and endoscopic imaging systems by providing high speed and agile focus control. While MEMS are ubiquitous in mobile platforms and the automotive industry for motion sensing, they have not yet permeated other markets or imaging systems to the same extent. With recent advances in fabrication and performance of optical MEMS devices, bringing this type of technology to other platforms can spark greater commercialization of the technology in non-traditional areas. The intellectual merit of this project is foremost the demonstration of a novel optomechanical system with MEMS mirrors for independent control of focusing and zoom in microscopy. MEMS mirrors are a type of varifocus element. They remain stationary while their voltage-controlled, configurable surface shapes allow for fast focusing and attendant correction of spherical aberration. Fast MEMS mirrors, with sufficient diameters for 2x zoom and significant focusing capability, have not previously been demonstrated in literature or commercially. By producing and characterizing fast, large-diameter MEMS mirrors for this project, knowledge of varifocus elements will be advanced. This project will also continue to define standard optical design practices to best utilize varifocus elements, since traditional optical analyses assume fixed focal length lenses or mirrors. The project objectives are three-fold: 1) fabricate large-diameter MEMS mirrors with greater than 40% yield, 2) characterize their focusing range and dynamic behavior, and 3) demonstrate them in a focus and zoom system suitable as a microscopy add-on component. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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