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  • Technology Innovators Vie for 'European Inventor of the Year' Awards
Apr 2008
The inventor of the stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscope and the creators of a new ophthalmoscope laser scanning technology are among 12 finalists completing for Europe's top innovation prize, Inventor of the Year 2008. The prize recognizes inventors and innovations that were patented by the European Patent Office (EPO) between 1993 and 2002, said the award's StefanHell.jpgfounders, the European Commission and the EPO.
Stefan Hell (Photo by Ansgar Pudenz, Copyright ©Deutscher Zukunftspreis)

The prizes, which are symbolic only, will be given in four categories: industry, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)/research institutes, non-European countries and lifetime achievement. Nominated for his STED microscope under the lifetime achievement category is Stefan Hell, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany, where he leads the Department of Nanobiophotonics. With his invention, Hell surmounted the 130-year-old resolution limit in light microscopy and made it possible to observe fine details inside cells. Hell and his coworkers have used the STED to shoot the first live video of the inside of a living nerve cell with a resolution of 65 nm, observing the process of signal transmission in a nerve cell in real time. "The detailed observation in the inside of living cells will in the end lead to new knowledge in health care and lead to new therapies and medication," said Hell. Under the SMEs/research category, Douglas Anderson, Robert Henderson and Roger Lucas of Dunfermline, Scotland-based Optos were nominated for developing a new ophthalmoscope laser scanning technology for examining the retina, which could lead to earlier detection of eye cancers, diabetes and high blood pressure. Also nominated are Stephen R. Quake, Marc A. Unger, Hou-Pu Chu, Todd A. Thorsen, Axel Scherer of the California Institute of Technology for their nanotechnology breakthrough: an integrated fluidic circuit similar to a computer microchip that allows researchers to run experiments with quantities of liquids invisible to the eye. The awards ceremony will be held in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, May 6 during the European Patent Forum 2008.

An instrument consisting essentially of a tube 160 mm long, with an objective lens at the distant end and an eyepiece at the near end. The objective forms a real aerial image of the object in the focal plane of the eyepiece where it is observed by the eye. The overall magnifying power is equal to the linear magnification of the objective multiplied by the magnifying power of the eyepiece. The eyepiece can be replaced by a film to photograph the primary image, or a positive or negative relay...
The use of atoms, molecules and molecular-scale structures to enhance existing technology and develop new materials and devices. The goal of this technology is to manipulate atomic and molecular particles to create devices that are thousands of times smaller and faster than those of the current microtechnologies.
Also referred to as a funduscope, an ophthalmoscope is a specialized instrument used by ophthalmologists for observing and photographing the fundus (interior) of the eye which includes the retina, macula, fovea, optic disc, macula, and posterior pole. The ophthalmoscope consists of a concave mirror with an orifice at the center through which the viewer examines the eye. A light source is then reflected to the eye from the mirror. A set of lenses are then rotated in front of the hole in the...
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
1. In optics, the ability of a lens system to reproduce the points, lines and surfaces in an object as separate entities in the image. 2. The minimum adjustment increment effectively achievable by a positioning mechanism. 3. In image processing, the accuracy with which brightness, spatial parameters and frame rate are divided into discrete levels.
1. The photosensitive membrane on the inside of the human eye. 2. A scanning mechanism in optical character generation.
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