Customized-fabricated lenses make it simple to connect high-tech microscopes on to cell incubators.
An optical machine that resembles a miniaturized lighthouse lens could make it simpler to look into Petri dishes and observe molecular-level particulars of organic processes, together with most cancers cell development. Developed by KAUST, the brand new lens can be very value efficient.
Many bioimaging methods require fluorescent dyes to be added to particular cell targets. However a not too long ago developed methodology generally known as stimulated raman scattering (SRS) microscopy can keep away from cumbersome labeling steps through the use of laser pulses to gather molecular vibrational indicators from organic samples. The flexibility of SRS microscopes to supply high-resolution, noninvasive photos at real-time speeds has prompted researchers to deploy them additionally for in vivo illness diagnostic research.
KAUST researchers have developed an ultrathin lens that matches into the stage-top incubators which might be used to develop reside cells for bioimaging. Credit score: © 2020 KAUST
One disadvantage of SRS microscopes, nevertheless, is that the detection system is affected by a background sign, generally known as cross-phase modulation, which is generated by the extraordinary interactions between laser pulses and the samples.
“This background sign is ubiquitous and reduces the distinction throughout microscopic statement of advanced samples, reminiscent of reside cells,” explains Carlo Liberale from KAUST. “It additionally makes it tough to establish goal molecules.”
To keep away from the consequences of cross-phase modulation, most SRS microscopes want to make use of cumbersome glass targets able to gathering huge angles of sunshine. Nonetheless, these sorts of lenses are almost not possible to suit into the stage-top incubators which might be used to develop reside cells for bioimaging.
Andrea Bertoncini, a researcher in Liberale’s group, spearheaded work to create an ultrathin SRS lens utilizing laser-based three-dimensional (3D) printing. Taking their cue from the slender design of lighthouse lenses, the KAUST staff printed tiny lens-like and mirror-like options right into a clear polymer solely a fraction of a millimeter thick.
“The sort of lens design is a really environment friendly option to gather and redirect mild coming from wide-angle sources proper to our laser detector,” says Bertoncini. “And because it’s so skinny, it simply suits into the closed chambers of an incubator.”
After calibration trials confirmed that their new lens may reject the cross section modulation background, the researchers turned their sights on human most cancers cells cultured in a traditional Petri dish. These experiments revealed that the lens may picture the cell’s inside parts with decision much like typical SRS microscopes, however in a way more handy and cheaper format.
“The targets we usually use to gather SRS microscope indicators value just a few thousand dollars,” says Bertoncini. “Now we’ve got a lens with comparable advantages that we are able to produce for lower than a tenth of that worth.”
Reference: “3D‐Printed excessive‐NA catadioptric skinny lens for suppression of XPM background in Stimulated Raman Scattering microscopy” by Andrea Bertoncini, Sergey P. Laptenok, Luca Genchi, Vijayakumar P. Rajamanickam and Carlo Liberale, 13 July 2020, Journal of Biophotonics.