22 February 2013 Tunable thin-film optical filters for hyperspectral microscopy
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Abstract
Hyperspectral imaging was originally developed for use in remote sensing applications. More recently, it has been applied to biological imaging systems, such as fluorescence microscopes. The ability to distinguish molecules based on spectral differences has been especially advantageous for identifying fluorophores in highly autofluorescent tissues. A key component of hyperspectral imaging systems is wavelength filtering. Each filtering technology used for hyperspectral imaging has corresponding advantages and disadvantages. Recently, a new optical filtering technology has been developed that uses multi-layered thin-film optical filters that can be rotated, with respect to incident light, to control the center wavelength of the pass-band. Compared to the majority of tunable filter technologies, these filters have superior optical performance including greater than 90% transmission, steep spectral edges and high out-of-band blocking. Hence, tunable thin-film optical filters present optical characteristics that may make them well-suited for many biological spectral imaging applications. An array of tunable thin-film filters was implemented on an inverted fluorescence microscope (TE 2000, Nikon Instruments) to cover the full visible wavelength range. Images of a previously published model, GFP-expressing endothelial cells in the lung, were acquired using a charge-coupled device camera (Rolera EM-C2, Q-Imaging). This model sample presents fluorescently-labeled cells in a highly autofluorescent environment. Linear unmixing of hyperspectral images indicates that thin-film tunable filters provide equivalent spectral discrimination to our previous acousto-optic tunable filter–based approach, with increased signal-to-noise characteristics. Hence, tunable multi-layered thin film optical filters may provide greatly improved spectral filtering characteristics and therefore enable wider acceptance of hyperspectral widefield microscopy.
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Peter F. Favreau, Peter F. Favreau, Thomas C. Rich, Thomas C. Rich, Prashant Prabhat, Prashant Prabhat, Silas J. Leavesley, Silas J. Leavesley, } "Tunable thin-film optical filters for hyperspectral microscopy", Proc. SPIE 8589, Three-Dimensional and Multidimensional Microscopy: Image Acquisition and Processing XX, 85890R (22 February 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2002469; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2002469
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