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Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Super-Resolved Optical Imaging Apparatus and Optical Imaging Method Using the Same", for Approval

August 21, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Kim, Dong Hyun (Seoul, KR); Lee, Won-ju (Seoul, KR); Oh, Youngjin (Seoul, KR); Choi, Jong-ryul (Seoul, KR); Sohn, Taehwang (Seongnam, KR), filed on December 27, 2013, was made available online on August 7, 2014.

The patent's assignee is Industry-Academic Cooperation Foundation, Yonsei University.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to super-resolved optical imaging, more particularly to an optical imaging apparatus and an optical imaging method using the apparatus that enable selective measurement along the horizontal and depth directions of a specimen.

"Biotechnology is fast rising as a next-generation industry, and accordingly, various bio-imaging techniques are being developed in the field of measurement systems.

"The total internal reflection (TIR) imaging technique is a method of exciting a fluorescent substance by using evanescent waves that are formed when light undergoes total reflection. As the evanescent waves are formed within several hundreds of nanometers from a surface, it is possible to selectively excite only the fluorescent substance within a particular range. Because of this property, total internal reflection imaging may be utilized to study interactions at a particular interface, such as at a cell membrane, etc.

"A conventional TIR microscope may be structured to excite a fluorescent substance dyed with a specimen, by using evanescent waves localized along the depth direction that are created when an incident beam undergoes total reflection at the interface between the specimen and a substrate, and to detect the fluorescence signals emitted from the excited fluorescent substance and convert them into an image. However, with the conventional TIR microscope, it is difficult or impossible to detect molecules or molecule trajectories, etc., in the horizontal direction which are smaller than the resolution limit that can be calculated by Abbe's equation of diffraction. Thus, there is a need for a TIR microscope that not only provides a high resolution in the depth direction but also provides a high resolution in the horizontal direction. Also, the conventional TIR microscope may not be able to provide selective excitation within the same surface."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "An aspect of the invention is to provide an optical imaging apparatus and an optical imaging method using the apparatus with which total reflection can be implemented that allows a high resolution not only in the depth direction from the surface of the sample specimen being measured, but also in the horizontal direction.

"Thus, an aspect of the invention makes it possible to provide selective incident-beam excitation at a surface using a nano-pattern chip and a light adjustment system.

"An aspect of the invention provides an optical imaging apparatus that allows imaging based on total internal reflection (TIR) with a high resolution not only in the depth direction but also in the horizontal direction.

"An embodiment of the invention provides an optical imaging apparatus that includes: a light source unit configured to supply an incident beam; a nano-pattern chip having a plurality of nanostructures; a light adjustment system configured to change an incidence property of the incident beam in at least one of a horizontal direction and a depth direction such that surface plasmon resonance occurs in a localized area of the plurality of nanostructures; and an image detection unit configured to extract fluorescence signals generated by the surface plasmon resonance from a specimen positioned in the localized area and convert the fluorescence signals into an image.

"Another aspect of the invention provides an optical imaging apparatus that allows TIR-based imaging with a high resolution not only in the depth direction but also in the horizontal direction.

"Ann embodiment of the invention provides an optical imaging method that includes: changing an incidence property of an incident beam in at least one of a horizontal direction and a depth direction such that surface plasmon resonance occurs in a localized area of a plurality of nanostructures; and extracting fluorescence signals generated by the surface plasmon resonance from a specimen positioned in the localized area and converting the fluorescence signals into an image.

"Changing the incidence property can include: changing a cross-sectional size and an incident path of the incident beam; and rotating the changed incident beam in a horizontal direction.

"The optical imaging method can further include adjusting an incident angle of the incident beam, before or after the rotating in a horizontal direction.

"With an optical imaging apparatus and an optical imaging method using the apparatus according to an embodiment of the invention, total reflection can be implemented that allows a high resolution not only in the depth direction from the surface of the sample specimen being measured, but also in the horizontal direction.

"Also, it is possible to provide selective incident-beam excitation within a sample specimen using a nano-pattern chip and a light adjustment system.

"Additional aspects and advantages of the present invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows, and in part will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an optical imaging apparatus according to an embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 2 illustrates the detailed composition of an optical imaging apparatus according to an embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 3 illustrates the structure of a spatial beam distributor according to an embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 4 and FIG. 5 illustrate the operation of a spatial beam distributor according to an embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 6 illustrates the operation of a beam steering prism according to an embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 7 illustrates the operation of an incident-angle adjustment system according to an embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 8 illustrates a super-resolved image recovery method for a sample specimen displaying dynamic movement according to an embodiment of the invention."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Kim, Dong Hyun; Lee, Won-ju; Oh, Youngjin; Choi, Jong-ryul; Sohn, Taehwang. Super-Resolved Optical Imaging Apparatus and Optical Imaging Method Using the Same. Filed December 27, 2013 and posted August 7, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=5856&p=118&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140731.PD.&OS=PD/20140731&RS=PD/20140731

Keywords for this news article include: Nanostructural, Nanostructures, Nanotechnology, Emerging Technologies, Industry-Academic Cooperation Foundation Yonsei University.

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Source: Politics & Government Week


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