Browse Prior Art Database

Electronically Scanned Confocal Imaging System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000105089D
Original Publication Date: 1993-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-19
Document File: 2 page(s) / 65K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Wu, FY: AUTHOR

Abstract

Disclosed is a confocal imaging system in which scanning is performed with no moving parts. Instead of scanning by mirror rotation or translation of the object to be imaged, this invention scans the light beams by using spatial light modulators. This device will make confocal microscopes simpler and more reliable.

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Electronically Scanned Confocal Imaging System

      Disclosed is a confocal imaging system in which scanning is
performed with no moving parts.  Instead of scanning by mirror
rotation or translation of the object to be imaged, this invention
scans the light beams by using spatial light modulators.  This device
will make confocal microscopes simpler and more reliable.

      In a confocal imaging system, it is necessary to project onto
the object one or more isolated spots of light, and to detect the
light transmitted or reflected by the object through one or more
apertures that are positioned to match the projected spots[1].
Acquisition of a confocal image requires that these spot(s) be
scanned with respect to the object in such a way that every point in
the field of view will be sampled by a spot.  In this invention, the
projected pattern of light spot(s) is created by a spatial light
modulator.  A spatial light modulator is an optical mask consisting
of an array of pixels each of which can be independently
electronically programmed to be opaque or transparent at any moment.
The effect of scanning the light spot(s) is accomplished by
sequencing the spatial light modulator through a series of suitably
programmed patterns of transparent/opaque pixels.

      The spatial light modulator is used in place of the pinhole or
Nipkow disk commonly used in conventional confocal microscopes[1].
One spatial light modulator can be used for the illumination pattern
and another for the detection pinhole(s).  Alternatively in the
reflective mode a single spatial light modulator can be used for both
purposes, replacing the Nipkow disk described in[2].

      As with other confocal microscopes, a single spot/pinhole can
be used for best image contrast and depth resolution.  Alternatively...