This invention consists of an apparatus that improves the optics of Laser Scanning Microscopy of biological samples by steering beams of multi-chromatic light and thereby correcting the problem of spectral dispersion.
The apparatus consists of an acousto-optical deflector and a spectrally dispersive element. The spectrally dispersive element can be a prism, a grating or a second acousto-optical deflector. The dispersive element disperses multi-chromatic light pulses in a direction opposite to that of the spectral dispersion that is caused by the acousto-optical deflector.
Acousto-optical deflectors permit laser scanning at high repetition rates, and therefore, it would be desirable to utilize them in multi-photon laser scanning microscopy. Prior to this invention, however, this has not been feasible since the ultrashort laser pulses required for multi-photon excitation at biologically tolerable average-power levels are typically multi-chromatic. The acousto-optical deflector acts as a diffraction grating and causes spectral dispersion, which negatively impacts clarity. By successfully addressing this problem, this apparatus will improve the performance of the widely used multi-photon laser scanning microscope.
This optical device, when combined with the use of multi-photon laser scanning microscopy, can be used for fast sample imaging. This apparatus gives rise to two important features:
- flexible imaging area selection at high scan rates;
- random access
Laser scanning microscopy
Ready to use
Gero Miesenbock, MD
U.S. patent issued: 6, 804, 000