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Auspicious Beginnings

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Marcia StamellOur cover story on confocal microscopy introduces a type of instrumentation that will allow researchers, most notably neuroscientists, to scan large areas of cells with ease and high fidelity. Strip mosaic technology unfurls imaging strips rather than creating individual patchwork fields, improving image quality because the strips can be assembled with pixel-to-pixel accuracy. Most revolutionary is the speed at which imaging takes place — as much as one-tenth the time of current generation confocal techniques. Learn more in “Breaking the Speed Barrier for High-Fidelity, Large-Area Confocal Scanning,” by Barbara Foster of The Microscopy & Imaging Place, (read article).

Microscopy is also the subject of a feature article by Siskiyou’s John Wingerd detailing new modules that can focus and independently maneuver lasers, control wide-field illumination sources or employ multiple cameras. Don’t miss “Modular Accessories Expand Fluorescence Microscope Capabilities,” (read article).

While neuroscientists and cell biologists stand to gain from such developments in confocal scanning and fluorescent microscopy, consumers are set to have access to the world of spectroscopy. Outgoing BioPhotonics editor James Schlett details up-and-coming smartphone plug-ins and add-ons that use spectroscopy to detect food contaminents or determine the nutrient and caloric content. These handheld spectrometers can also measure blood glucose or screen for skin cancer. That, say developers, is only the beginning. Read more in “Smartphones Poised to Shake Up Spectroscopy,” (read article).

The innovations described by Thomas Britton of Raritan Valley Community College and Jaehan Kim of OFS in “Optical Fibers Illuminate Brain Activity” (read article) have applications for both research and patient care. The article describes a 3D-printed brain model equipped with optical fibers that can show brain function over time. Besides helping researchers understand brain functions, the technology can provide a helpful tool for both neurosurgery planning and patient education.

In BiOpinion, Jürgen Popp, scientific director of the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology, proposes the creation of project engineering teams to help photonic devices make it to clinical translation. For more about this concept, see “Label-Free Photonic Imaging Modalities: Overcoming Barriers to Clinical Translation” (read article).

The scope of biophotonics never ceases to amaze. But even within this ever-expanding field, the new technologies described in this issue augur a bright start, photonically speaking, to a new year.

Jan 2017
Contraction of "picture element." A small element of a scene, often the smallest resolvable area, in which an average brightness value is determined and used to represent that portion of the scene. Pixels are arranged in a rectangular array to form a complete image.
Pertaining to optics and the phenomena of light.
camerasEditorialMarcia Stamellconfocal microscopyneuroscientistsimagingpixelfiberoptical

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