Chip-based Super-Resolution Structured Illumination Microscopy
Super-resolution fluorescent microscopy is a powerful tool in biology and medical research nowadays. Indeed, three pioneers of the super-resolution methods have been awarded with the Nobel Prize in 2014. However, all these methods are implemented with bulky freespace precision optical instruments. They have the common drawbacks of high cost, cumbersome size, small field of view (FOV) and slow operation speed. On the other hand, extremely compact photonic integrated circuits (PICs), fueled by CMOS technology, have progressed tremendously. Recently there is a strong push towards the miniaturization of traditional optical analysis systems into such PICs. In this project, I will investigate a completely new approach towards super resolution fluorescence microscopy based on the latest developments in PICs. By taking advantage of high refractive index waveguide materials and optical phase modulators to generate integrated structured optical illumination, in combination with small low-NA lenses, standard bulky and expensive free-space optical components can be eliminated without sacrificing resolution. Further miniaturization is achieved by also removing the lens and integrating a fluorescence excitation filter and image sensor in the same photonics chip. The resulting platform will enable high resolution, fast, robust, zeromaintenance, and inexpensive microscopy with applications reaching from cellomics to DNA sequencing, proteomics, and highly parallelized optical biosensors.