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Going deeper for a better view

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DOUGLAS FARMER, SENIOR EDITORWhile extremely valuable in sample analysis, superresolution imaging has historically had its limitations. Among its obstacles are the confinement of most of the images it generates to two dimensions and the length of time needed to capture the information provided within them. But a team of researchers has outlined how a confluence of optical methods along with superresolution imaging is enhancing the effectiveness of science and medicine.

In our cover story in this edition of EuroPhotonics, Jakub Pospisil, Thomas Huser, and Judith Heidelin describe how superresolution imaging, when used in conjunction with light sheet microscopy, can reveal a large sample at cellular resolution and can do so at depth. By using fluorophores in a prescribed area, a minimal amount of light is required to examine an area of interest, reducing the intensity of exposure and thus the photobleaching that often results from intense examination in experiments.

By bringing machine learning into the equation, researchers can re-create the image using data from a finite number of frames, reducing the time needed to make an analysis of what they are seeing. This could potentially open up new frontiers in identifying — and ultimately solving — problems in biomedicine. Read more about this ongoing work on page here.

Photonics is opening up a window into resolving other societal and environmental challenges as well. Readers can learn about how a group of scientists in Greece and Italy searched for a way to harvest microalgae as an abundant biofuel. While previous attempts to use this resource proved inefficient, Dimitris Alexandropoulos, Konstantina Tourlouki, and Simone Mazzucato write that laser-processed glass-fiber-reinforced polymer, when constructed as a mesh, serves as an ideal platform for the extraction of microalgae. Learn more about these exciting developments on page here.

In this issue’s “EPIC Insights,” Ana Gonzalez relates how the evolution of photonics technologies, especially the miniaturization of photonic integrated circuits (PICs) that are manufactured on wafers along with lasers and other components, are facilitating the higher bandwidth needed for video and cloud services for all types of industries. She explains how this change is happening on page here.

And circling back to the topic of superresolution imaging, an article in our news section discusses how a team of biophysicists in Switzerland flooded their field of view with light from an arrangement of lenses and mirrors, enabling a superresolution fluorescence microscope to expand the images of cellular activity that it captured. Read more about what this means here.

Enjoy the issue!

Winter 2020

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