Optical Techniques in Biological Microscopy

 OAPd collaborates with the Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM) in a biomedical research program, focused in better understanding homeostatic processes in living cells through new and original technological approaches. The unique characteristics of this project is that it brings together a group with a long lasting experience in cell biology and physiology with a group of astronomers with a long record in the design and utilization of optical instruments and image detection techniques. The OAPd team has a long-standing experience spanning from small focal plane optical devices (image-slicers, optical calibration sources, wavefront analysers), nowadays called smart-optics, to applications in the construction and deployment of complete active optics system at theTNG national observing facility, one of the very first implementations of this concept. The programmed plan is to develop a novel microscopic approach, essentially a "micro-endoscopy" system, based on Graded Index Fibres (GRIN fibres), to be used as "in-vivo" vision probes. If successful, this tool will enormously improve the possibility of investigating living cells in vivo by microscopic techniques. To discern sub-cellular details with GRIN fibres there are several difficulties to overcome, in particular: - the stabilization of the resulting image - the correction of aberrations and the extension of the field of view produced by the optical system (GRIN fibres and microscope). Improvements will be obtained experimenting the insertion of active and adaptive optics systems in the microscope light train. The project was selected by "Cassa di Risparmio di Padova e Rovigo" in the framework of "BANDO PROGETTI di ECCELLENZA 2006" and funded for 3 years. In the first year of the study, an adaptive optics system for traditional microscopy objectives was developed. Moreover, the possibility to modally drive graded index optical fibers (GRIN) for endoscopy trough adaptive optics systems was tested and verified.

People: F. Bortoletto, C. Bonoli, E. Giro, D. Magrin

Collaboration: F. Mammano (Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine), C. Pernechele (INAF OA Cagliari)


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