20 February 2009 Advanced confocal fiber-optic imaging and sensing approaches
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Abstract
Fiber-optic-based confocal microscopy has been extensively used as an effective imaging and sensor technology due to its submicron spatial resolution, flexible beam delivery, and scanning potential. Recent research efforts in confocal microscopy have been focused on improving the resolution, increasing the imaging speed, and adapting multi-photon modalities. Here, we present our recent research studies on various advanced confocal fiber-optic imaging and sensing approaches using the following novel confocal methods. First, we investigated an all-fiber-optic confocal interference microscope approach using a low-coherence near-infrared (1310 nm) light source. A signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) enhancement of 3.38 dB compared to a reflection-mode confocal microscope was observed. The use of a low-coherence light source reduced the interference effects between various optical components, and an all-fiber-optic, robust and compact confocal setup could be designed. Second, we experimentally investigated a single-fiber confocal microscope approach using a hollow-core photonic bandgap fiber. The single-fiber hollow-core structure reduced the back-reflection by 85% which enhanced the SNR. The measured lateral resolution was as high as or better than 0.78 μm when a 532-nm laser source was used. Third, we explored a novel upconversion confocal microscope approach utilizing a continuous-wave near-infrared (1550 nm) pump light source. An Erbium-doped glass powder was used as an upconversion phosphor medium that emits an upconverted signal at 660 nm. Using this upconversion fiber-optic confocal microscope method, high resolution images with a lateral resolution close to theoretical limits were obtained.
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Do-Hyun Kim, Jin U. Kang, Ilko K. Ilev, "Advanced confocal fiber-optic imaging and sensing approaches", Proc. SPIE 7173, Optical Fibers and Sensors for Medical Diagnostics and Treatment Applications IX, 71730B (20 February 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.816537; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.816537
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