Optical microscopy is the most commonly used imaging technique in life and material sciences; however, the spatial resolution of any standard microscope is fundamentally limited by the diffraction of light waves which for visible light restricts spatial resolution to ~250 nm. Surpassing the diffraction-limit significantly impacts several disciplines, such as medical and material sciences, microfluidics, and nanophotonics, and therefore has been the subject of considerable research effort. Several imaging techniques based on near-field scanning probes and various fluorescent-based schemes have been developed in the past to overcome the diffraction-limit. These techniques, however, are associated with a complex design and high economic cost, and require dedicated equipment and scanning across the specimen that increases the image acquisition time; furthermore, near-field scanning leads to significant loss of optical throughput and fluorescent-based methods are applicable only to specimens that are decorated with fluorophores. We have focused on developing a simple generic super-resolution imaging method. Specifically, we recently demonstrated feasibility of imaging biological and photonic structures, with resolution improvement by a factor of 2-3, by using novel super-resolution microscope slides (SRMS) composed of a monolayer array of microspheres, with high index of refraction, fixed in a transparent elastomer layer. The slides are simply placed over the specimen under investigation as a coverslip to increase the image spatial resolution of a standard microscope. The objective of this proposal by SphereVis is toward the development of low-cost technologies for global health by developing the technology of mass-fabrication of optimized novel super-resolution microscope slides as a commercial product. The proposed SRMS provides medical science researchers with a new tool for cancer biology research and has a broad range of applications, allowing super-resolution imaging of biological, metallic, and semiconductor structures. We will design and fabricate SRMS and characterize their imaging properties, i.e. resolution gain, magnification, and field-of-view, for different schemes of SRMS to optimize the design parameters for application in ?-H2AX assay of proton-irradiated V79 and U87 cancer cell lines.

Public Health Relevance

Microscopic imaging has traditionally been constrained by the diffraction limit, which for visible light restricts spatial resolution to ~250 nm. Surpassing thislimit would significantly benefit several disciplines, such as medical and material sciences. Our company, SphereVis LLC, has developed a simple generic super-resolution method for biological and photonic structures that provides two- to three-fold-enhancement in spatial resolution.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grants - Phase I (R41)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Sammak, Paul J
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Spherevis, LLC
United States
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