GRIN (Graded index) lens have revolutionized micro endoscopy enabling deep tissue imaging with high resolution. The challenges of traditional GRIN lenses are their large size (when compared with the field of view) and their limited resolution. This is because of the relatively weak NA in standard graded index lenses.
Here we introduce a novel micro-needle platform for endoscopy with much higher resolution than traditional GRIN lenses and a FOV that corresponds to the whole cross section of the needle. The platform is based on polymeric (SU-8) waveguide integrated with a microlens micro fabricated on a silicon substrate using a unique molding process. Due to the high index of refraction of the material the NA of the needle is much higher than traditional GRIN lenses. We tested the probe in a fluorescent dye solution (19.6 µM Alexa Flour 647 solution) and measured a numerical aperture of 0.25, focal length of about 175 µm and minimal spot size of about 1.6 µm. We show that the platform can image a sample with the field of view corresponding to the cross sectional area of the waveguide (80x100 µm2). The waveguide size can in principle be modified to vary size of the imaging field of view. This demonstration, combined with our previous work demonstrating our ability to implant the high NA needle in a live animal, shows that the proposed system can be used for deep tissue imaging with very high resolution and high field of view.
Mohammad Amin Tadayon, Aseema Mohanty, Samantha P Roberts, Felippe Barbosa, and Michal Lipson, "High resolution microphotonic needle for endoscopic imaging (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10040, Endoscopic Microscopy XII, 100400R (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 30, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2250608.5369883828001.
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