Friday, April 20, 2012

The world's fastest-focusing lens?

"The fastest focusing lens in the world" can change focal length in sub-microseconds--and can also do beam modulation, which makes it versatile for applications including spectroscopy and imaging. TAG Optics is a startup launched just a few months ago to commercialize this lens; founder and CEO Christian Theriault helped me understand the technology's application to a two-photon microscopy application: In non-synchronous mode, the lens generates a z-stack nearly instantaneously. "Instead of changing the focus stage, we would turn the lens on and get the z-stack right away, so it takes away the need to do post-image recreation." Theriault says the company is in the process of building a new driving kit "that will give us much more power, that would technically allow us at 10x do a 1 cm focus range. So you'd have a fixed stage, your sample, and electronically focus completely."

The technology, which works by sending sound waves into a liquid, was developed in 2006 by a Princeton professor associated with MIRTHE (Mid Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment), the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center. MIRTHE dedicated its most recent Investment Focus Group Workshop to medical applications.

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