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  • Microscopy Brings New Worlds Into Focus

Photonics Spectra
Jun 2016
MICHAEL D. WHEELER, michael.wheeler@photonics.com

Mike WheelerThough the father-son duo of Hans and Zacharias Janssen is widely credited with developing the first microscope in the late 16th century, it was the English scholar Robert Hooke who inspired widespread public interest in the new science of microscopy. His seminal work, “Micrographia,” published in 1665, included never-before-seen illustrations of magnified insects and plants, just as he saw them from his microscope.

“By the help of microscopes, there is nothing so small as to escape our inquiry; hence, there is a new visable world discovered to the understanding,” he wrote.

As in Hooke’s day, microscopy continues to open up new worlds of understanding.

Senior editor Justine Murphy spoke with three luminaries in the field: Aydogan Ozcan, Ph.D., of UCLA; David K. Welsh, M.D., Ph.D., of UC San Diego; and Nestor J. Zaluzec of the Argonne National Laboratory. They shared their insights into the latest super- resolution and cryomicroscopy techniques and more in “Illuminating Microscopy Growth and Demand” (read article).

Speaking of illumination, lighting sources have changed significantly from the rudimentary oil lamps used in Hooke’s day. Contributing editor Marie Freebody’s “Lighting up Microscopes: Advances and Emerging Sources” (read article) examines the increasing popularity of LED light sources, especially for bright-field transmitted light techniques, and the use of optically pumped semiconductor lasers and laser diodes for fluorescent lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM).

We shift from the microscopic world to the vast expanse of the universe, where floated borosilicate glass is proving critical in the operation of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope. Schott North America’s Tina Gallo hints at things to come in “Specialized Optical Mirrors Set to Unlock the Universe’s Darkest Mysteries,” (read article).

We round out the issue with a closer look at how the development of better sensors, more powerful processors and sophisticated algorithms, along with LEDs, are benefiting machine vision applications, in Hank Hogan’s “For Vision Systems, Lighting and Other Advances Up Capabilities and Cut Costs” (read article).

Finally, the presence of increasingly fast and powerful ultrashort pulse laser systems on the market presents a new challenge: avoiding the accumulation of too many pulses in one spot. Florian Harth, Thomas Herrmann, Bernhard Henrich and Johannes A. L‘huillier of the Photonik-Zentrum Kaiserslautern eV and Research Center Optimas reveal how users of these systems can achieve a dynamically and synchronously adaptable pulse repetition rate in the MHz range — critical to achieving higher output. Be sure to read, “Ultrashort Pulse Laser Micromachining Surpasses Previous Limitations” (read article).

Enjoy the issue!


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...
vision
The processes in which luminous energy incident on the eye is perceived and evaluated.
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