Product added to cart
The Future of Microscope Objectives

Top 4 Trends of 2018

December 2018 | See all Trending in Optics Topics

Top Four Trending Topics

Advances in Microscopy, Imaging, and Extreme Ultraviolet Optics


Open-source DIY microscopy brings cost-effective microscopy to a broad audience


Miniaturized microscope objectives lead to small, potable microscopy systems


Integrated liquid lenses allow for quick autofocusing in imaging systems


Compact, extreme ultraviolet light sources facilitate exciting new applications

The optics and imaging industries are constantly evolving because of new developments driven by markets such as advanced medical diagnostics, machine vision, and semiconductor processing. Edmund Optics® highlights key optics and imaging trends in this monthly Trending in Optics series to keep the community informed of the innovative technologies that are making the largest impact. Four particular top trends highlighted in 2018 were open-source DIY microscopy, miniaturized microscope objectives, liquid lenses in imaging, and extreme ultraviolet (EUV) optics.

Open-Source DIY Microscopy

A technology is considered “open-source” when all applicable technical information is made publically available and a community of users collaborates to develop, test, and improve the technology. Open-source DIY microscopy, such as the Miniscope from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), makes cost-effective microscopy systems easily accessible for use in research and prototyping. The Miniscope is a miniature, head-mounted, open-source fluorescence microscope developed by the Khakh, Silva, and Golshani Labs at UCLA to study the neural activity of freely behaving mice. The open-source nature of this project allows any neuroscience lab to build this device and conduct neuroscience research at a fraction of the cost of purchasing a commercial fluorescence microscope.

Miniaturized Microscope Objectives

Miniaturized, compact microscope objectives reduce the size and weight of microscopy systems, making them more portable. This allows for rapid response in the field for a variety of applications including water monitoring, the testing of diseases, and microscopic industrial examination. Simplified mechanics and compact optical designs have led to modern miniaturized objectives as small as a stack of quarters, which makes them much more practical for rapid-response fieldwork than large, heavy, and complex traditional microscope systems. Miniaturized microscope objectives typically have fixed apertures, small baffles, and a fixed focus.

Liquid Lenses in Imaging

Liquid lenses can be integrated into imaging systems to quickly adjust the focus to accommodate objects located at different heights or working distances in high-speed applications. Liquid lenses consist of small cells of optical-grade liquid that change shape within a matter of milliseconds when a current or voltage is applied. The resulting change in curvature shifts the lens’ optical power and, therefore, focal length and working distance. Traditional imaging lenses in applications that require a quick refocus struggle to capture sharp and accurate images because they require mechanical adjustment. Liquid lenses can be integrated into systems for machine vision and life science systems to increase throughput through rapid refocusing and adjustment for depth of field and working distance.

Extreme Ultraviolet Optics

New compact extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation sources with wavelengths from roughly 10-100nm are producing numerous emerging EUV applications including high resolution imaging with resolutions down to 0.5nm, molecular and solid-state dynamics research, optical and photoelectron spectroscopy, and nano-machining for nanotechnology. However, it is difficult to develop optical components that work in the EUV spectrum because EUV radiation is strongly absorbed by virtually all materials and surface roughness must be finely controlled, as scatter increases at short wavelengths. These challenges have led to the development of super-polished reflective EUV optics that are pushing the boundaries of optical component technology.


FAQ   Does Edmund Optics® (EO) sell Miniscopes?
EO sells several components that go into the Miniscope including our 5mm Diameter x 15mm Focal Length MgF2 Coated Achromatic Doublet Lens (#45-207), our 3.0mm Diameter N-BK7 Half-Ball Lens (#47-269), and our 1.8mm Diameter, 670nm DWL, Uncoated GRIN Lens (#64-519). However, we do not sell complete Miniscopes. To learn more about the Miniscope and to purchase the complete set of components, visit this webpage.
FAQ  How small are the miniaturized TECHSPEC® Ultra Compact Objective Assemblies?

The 8mm focal length versions of the TECHSPEC® Ultra Compact Objective Assemblies are the smallest that we offer. This version has a length of 10.8mm. There is also a 10mm focal length version that has a length of 21.2mm.

FAQ   Can a liquid lens be integrated into another type of lens, such as a fixed focal length lens?

Yes, we can integrate liquid lenses into other types of lenses as a custom option. We also offer our modular Cx Series Fixed Focal Length Lenses in which you can integrate interchangeable accessories including liquid lenses, fixed apertures, and internal filter holders.

FAQ   Why are the Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Flat Mirrors designed for 13.5nm?

The Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Flat Mirrors are designed for use at 13.5nm because it is one of the most commonly used EUV wavelengths. Tin-plasma sources used for lithography emit at 13.5nm and other EUV applications are adopting this wavelength as the standard.

Was this content useful to you?