Portable 3D imaging microscopy

Uploaded by InstituteofPhysics on 19.10.2012

Prof. Tony Wilson: Aurox is essentially an applied optics company
building specialised 3-dimensional microscope imaging instruments
The extra things that we need for the Aurox product to work are clearly the conventional microscope
but also a CCD camera to capture the image
So we have partnered with two people
on the one hand we have partnered with Carl Zeiss, who of course have the microscopes
and we've also partnered with Andor plc, based in Belfast, who provide the high-resolution, high-specification CCD cameras
These are our two main routes to market
By going back to the real basic physics of how a microscope forms an image
the kind of thing Ernst Abbe understood at the end of the 19th century
and ignoring all the recent work
one can really build a very simple instrument to provide 3-dimensional imaging inexpensively
and hence fits a niche in the microscope imaging market
Dr. Rimas Juskaitis: The way 3D microscopy typically works these days is that when the university buys a confocal microscope
it doesnt go into the lab, it does go into a central imaging facility and it's because it's big, expensive, needs to be maintained
Each individual researcher books time and does imaging in the central facility
What Aurox is doing is providing an instrument which is small and inexpensive enough to be attached
to a conventional microscope that an individual researcher will already have in his lab
Prof. Tony Wilson: With all optical microscopes if one looks at an image, a high resolution image
of say a biological speciman, which will be a 3-dimensional speciman, one ends up with a very good
high resolution, in focus image of the part in the focal plane, with blurred bits above and below
And the whole idea of the Aurox product is to get rid of these blurred bits
Dr. Rimas Juskaitis: Going out into the real world and trying to actually
convert your ideas into a product is a very big psychological step
It's not to be taken lightly
The specifics of the product and how it has to work always first time, with not necessarily the best person operating it
is very different from what you do in the lab for yourself, for a one off experiment
And so I would say this was the most difficult part to get through
Prof. Tony Wilson: We modify the illumination of the microscope so that we project a pattern of lines onto the speciman
It's then a matter of clever optics and computer processing to remove the parts of the speciman where there are no lines
It's then a matter of removing the lines from this thin section near the optical focal plane
and that will reveal a thin, in focus, optical section of the thick speciman
We then physically focus through the whole thickness of the speciman
recording these thin sections at each plane
and then we replay in the computer to have a wonderful 3-dimensional representation of the whole object
Dr. Rimas Juskaitis: We had a lot of work on our hands trying to persuade that this thing, for which you would pay perhaps
a small percentage of what you would normally pay, can actually do as good a job as a bigger machine
Prof. Tony Wilson: The Aurox product is based on the fact that most people have a conventional microscope in their lab
and so what we are trying to do is to add functionality to that microscope to provide 3-dimensional imaging
So I'm tremendously pleased that by our work in optics
we are able to allow people in the biosciences to really explore the structure of living cells
Dr. Rimas Juskaitis: It's a very satisfying experience when something that you worked on for many years
first as a researcher and then as a developer, finally gets released into the outer world
and you get very positive responses from the end users
I think this is the whole point of why we do this