A novel lightsource to provide the excitation radiation for fluorescence microscopy is presented and its performance is compared to the current de factor standard in the field: mercury short arc lamps. This novel light source is remote to the microscope, and the radiation is coupled to the microscope via a liquid lightguide or fiber optic cable using special coupling optics. We present measurements made on some common fluorescent microscopes that show the new light source provides for higher overall optical power delivered to the sample and provides more uniform illumination of the microscopes' field of view in comparison to the standard short arc lamps. Using the definition of the Koehler illumination rules it is shown that the inherent design of the remote source makes it resistant to many non-uniformities and misalignments commonly enountered with the short arc lamp sources; thereby providing for a consistent, uniform irradiance and intensity distribution of the entrance pupil to the microscope. The experimental method used to quantitatively measure the uniformity of the excitation radiation at the microscope's objective plane is also discussed and shown to be far more reliable than other techniques which rely upon fluorescent radiation from synthetic samples placed at the objective plane.
A high power UV LED array operating at 396nm with an output greater than 1 Watt has been developed. Performance characteristics of the device are presented. It is also shown that the device is as effective as traditional arc lamps in curing acrylic adhesives as demonstrated through microhardness and DSC testing.
Light emitting diodes operating in the near ultraviolet offer considerable advantage for adhesive curing in demanding applications, including flexibility of deployment, and uniformity of illumination. Wavelength limitations however must be considered when choosing LED curing solutions to ensure correct cure of adhesive for maximum performance.
Varying the intensity of illumination used to cure photoactivated adhesives has been applied in medical and dental applications to improve the performance of polymer materials. For example, it has been observed that dental polymer composite materials express reduced shrinkage, important for durability of non-amalgam restorations, by introducing a phased time-intensity cure schedule. This work identified that curing conditions could influence the final properties of materials, and suggested the possibility of extending the characteristics that could be influenced beyond shrinkage to humidity resistance, Tg, outgassing and other important material properties. Obviously, these results have important ramifications for the photonic industry, with current efforts focused on improved manufacturing techniques. Improvement in low cost packaging solutions, including adhesives, will have to be made to bring the component cost down to address the needs of Metro and similar markets. However, there are perceived problems with the widespread use of adhesives, the most prevalent of these involving long term durability of the bond. Devices are typically aligned to sub-micron precision using active feedback and then must be locked in position to maintain performance. In contrast to traditional fastening methods, adhesive bonding is a highly attractive option due to the ease of deployment, lower equipment costs, and improved flexibility. Moreover, using methods analogous to those employed in dental applications, materials properties of photonic adhesives may be tailored using a programmed cure approach.
Confocal optical microscopy augmented by the phase-sensitive detection technique has been used to determine the erbium ion distribution in the core of single-mode optical fibers. The fluorescence at 565 nm generated by erbium ions under 488 nm excitation has been used to map the distribution of these ions in several doped fibers and the total ion concentration was estimated. The minimum concentration of erbium ions that can be measured using this technique is estimated to be of the order of a part per million.