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Lens Produces 3-D Images in Seconds

Photonics.com
Mar 2012
GLASGOW, Scotland, March 1, 2012 — An innovative confocal lens behind a new microscope produces results in seconds rather than hours and could dramatically accelerate drug development.

Scientists at the University of Strathclyde have created a lens that can show three-dimensional images within cells and tissues at the same time that it displays the whole organism, something not currently possible with any single imaging device.


A human flea, captured by the Mesolens developed at the University of Strathclyde. (Image: Medical Research Council)

The innovative Mesolens — the only device of its kind in the world — can capture details of an organism that are too big to be examined satisfactorily by existing microscopes and will offer deeper insight into topics such as cancerous tissues and the cortex of the brain.

“The global health challenges of the 21st century demand new and powerful treatments, but the process of drug discovery and delivery is often time-consuming and costly,” said Dr. Brad Amos, a visiting scientist at the university’s Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences. He discussed the device in a Leeuwenhoek Lecture he gave in February to the Royal Society in London.


Dr. Brad Amos, visiting scientist at the University of Strathclyde. (Image: Medical Research Council)

“The information provided by microscopes is vital to this process but can take hours at a time to emerge,” Amos said.

The confocal lens can be trained simultaneously on or inside an individual cell and the full organism with strong resolution and will have the capacity to deliver 3-D images that go far beyond the limitations of two-dimensional representations.


Dr. Gail McConnell, reader at the University of Strathclyde. (Image: University of Strathclyde)

“This level of detail can open up vast possibilities for discoveries which can contribute to the fight against disease worldwide,” Amos said.

“We already have the two-dimensional technology for the lens in place, but a third dimension will allow us to take the revolutionary step of presenting images with a range and versatility which no single imaging platform can currently offer,” said Dr. Gail McConnell, a reader at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences and partner in the research.

For more information, visit: www.strath.ac.uk  


GLOSSARY
microscope
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...
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