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The Future of Microscope Objectives

Advances in Microscopy Tackle the Challenges of the Future

 

Miniaturization for added mobility

 

UV wavelengths for increased resolution and contrast enhancement

 

Automated systems for more throughput

 

Liquid lens integration for quick focus adjustment

Optical microscopes have enabled advancements in science, medicine, and industrial applications since the 17th century. They are continually evolving to tackle the challenges of the future. Compact, miniaturized objectives allow microscopy systems to be portable, enabling rapid response in the field. Electrically-tunable liquid lens integration and system automation help drastically increase the throughput of industrial applications, and many microscopy applications are moving to ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths to improve resolution and contrast. These developments allow microscopy systems to meet the demanding requirements of emerging applications.

Miniaturization - Honey, I Shrunk the Microscope!

Miniaturized microscope objectives are ideal for weight and size sensitive applications such as rapid response testing of diseases, water monitoring, and microscopic examination on factory floors. The large size, heavy weight, and complexity of standard microscope systems make them impractical for rapid-response field work. Simplified mechanics and compact optical designs allow modern microscope objectives to be as small as a stack of quarters. Ultra-compact objectives will often have a fixed focus, small baffles, and fixed apertures.

Size Comparison of an Ultra-Compact Microscope Objective with a Standard Microscope Objective
Figure 1: Size Comparison of an Ultra-Compact Microscope Objective with a Standard Microscope Objective

Automated Systems - Let your Microscope do the Work

A wide array of components in modern microscope systems can be automated from focus and stage control, to electromechanical shutters to illumination source switching to image acquisition. Automating these functions can significantly increase throughput and make your process incredibly repeatable and controllable. Automated microscopy systems are extremely valuable when many repeated observations are required.

Figure 2: Video of an Automated Microscopy System that Edmund Optics had on Display at Photonics West 2018

UV Microscopy - Short Wavelengths for High Resolution

Many microscopy applications are utilizing UV wavelengths in pursuit of higher resolution and improved contrast. The wavelength of the light source determines the resolution of optical microscopes, and the short wavelengths of UV radiation can achieve image resolution beyond the diffraction limit of visible light. Contrast is also improved in UV microscopy because of the interaction of UV radiation with the molecules of the sample, which makes features on the sample under examination easier to identify. UV microscopy is ideal for the inspection of devices with miniscule features such as modern semiconductors. UV objectives can also be used with UV lasers to generate small and precise features, making them ideal for laser focusing and processing applications including semiconductor processing, material etching, and aesthetic lasers for wrinkle, tattoo, and hair removal.

UV Microscopy is Ideal for Semiconductor Inspection
Figure 3: UV Microscopy is Ideal for Semiconductor Inspection

Liquid Lens Integration - Quick Focus Adjustment

Liquid lenses are electrically-tunable cells of fluid that quickly change their shape when a current or voltage is applied, adjusting focus to locate objects at different working distances. When integrated into microscope systems in microscopic imaging applications, liquid lenses simplify the process of focus stacking, or z-stacking. Focus stacking is often required when using high magnification objectives due to their limited depths of field. An integrated liquid lens allows objectives to quickly and precisely focus to various object planes, expediting the process of focus stacking and allowing for rapid imaging of thick samples with minimized wasted time between images.

Electrically-Focused Liquid Lens Technology
Figure 4: Electrically-Focused Liquid Lens Technology

The Future of Microscope Objectives at Edmund Optics®

TECHSPEC Ultra Compact Objective Assemblies

Ultra Compact Objective Assemblies

TECHSPEC® Ultra Compact Objective Assemblies are Edmund Optics' smallest objectives with nearly the smallest available form factor in the market in their class of working distance, resolution, and magnification. Designed at a magnification of 2X, TECHSPEC® Ultra Compact Objective Assemblies can be easily configured to magnifications of 4X, 5X, 10X, 15X, and 20X by adding extension tubes.

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Mitutoyo NUV and UV Infinity Corrected Objectives Mitutoyo NUV and UV Infinity Corrected Objectives

Mitutoyo's NUV and UV infinity corrected long working distance objectives combine improved resolution of using UV wavelengths with the benefits of the standard M Plan Apo and M Plan Apo SL series objectives. They have excellent performance at the doubled, tripled, and quadrupled Nd:YAG harmonics. They are ideal for microscopic inspection of miniscule features, laser materials processing, and medical laser applications.

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TECHSPEC® Compact Objective Liquid Lens Assemblies

Compact Objective Liquid Lens Assemblies

TECHSPEC® Tunable Compact Objective Liquid Lens Assemblies integrate a liquid lens with our finite conjugate TECHSPEC® Compact Objective Assemblies, allowing for quick working distance adjustment and are available in 2X and 5X versions. They are ideal for a variety of biomedical and machine vision applications including microscopy, pharmaceutical inspection, flow cytometry, and microscopic industrial inspection.

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FAQ's

FAQ  How small are the miniaturized TECHSPEC® Ultra Compact Objective Assemblies?
The smallest of the TECHSPEC® Ultra Compact Objective Assemblies are the 8mm focal length versions with a length of 10.8mm. The 10mm focal length versions have a length of 21.2mm.
FAQ  What magnifications are available for the TECHSPEC® Ultra Compact Objective Assemblies?

The TECHSPEC® Ultra Compact Objective Assemblies are designed at 2X magnification, but are easily configurable to achieve 4X, 5X, 10X, 15X, and 20X magnifications by adding extension tubes.

FAQ   What are the wavelength ranges of the Mitutoyo NUV and UV Infinity Corrected Objectives?

The NUV Mitutoyo Infinity Corrected Objectives have a wavelength range of 355-620nm and the UV versions are designed for 266nm and 355nm.

FAQ  Are liquid lenses included in TECHSPEC® Tunable Compact Objective Liquid Lens Assemblies?

Yes, the liquid lenses are included in the 2X and 5X TECHSPEC® Tunable Compact Objective Liquid Lens Assemblies

Resources

Application Notes

Technical information and application examples including theoretical explanations, equations, graphical illustrations, and much more.

Understanding Microscopes and Objectives
Read  

Understanding Infinity Corrected Objective Resolving Power and Magnification
Read  

Using Tube Lenses with Infinity Corrected Objectives
Read  

Calculators

Technical calculators based on commonly used and referenced equations in the Optics, Imaging and Photonics industries.

Infinite Conjugate Tube Length
Watch  

Related Pages

Links to technical articles appearing in industry publications authored by Edmund Optics® or featuring contributions from EO's engineering team and key management.

Advanced Diagnostics
Read  

Technical Articles

Links to technical articles appearing in industry publications authored by Edmund Optics or featuring contributions from EO's engineering team and key management.

Get the Picture! Easily incorporate microscopic imaging into small-scale applications
Read  

 

Contact Us

What limitations do you face today in your optics applications? What are the next problems that you need to be solved? Contact us today to work with our team of engineers to discover solutions to your application questions.

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