December 15, 2017

The impact of super-resolution biomedical imaging

The impact of super-resolution biomedical imaging

Super-resolution imaging refers to the ability to have better resolution that what was theoretically possible with conventional imaging systems. It’s particularly beneficial in the medical imaging industry where advancements can enable medical breakthroughs or diagnoses.

Super-resolution cell imaging could help calibrate immune systems

Due to the prevalence of chronic diseases including cancer and many others, studying cell structures through microscopes in vivid detail is critically important. Super-resolution can help researchers validate theories and push forward advancements. For example, a team at Salk Institute used a super-resolution microscope to watch T cell receptors’ behavior; research that ultimately will “help researchers make the immune system more or less sensitive. In the case of autoimmune diseases, clinicians would like to turn down the immune system's activity, while turning up the activity could help fight infections or cancers.”

Super-resolution photoacoustic imaging could help doctors identify growth of tumors

Photoacoustics is summarized as lighting up a specimen and then essentially listening to the response. In the past, the resolution limits have stifled the adoption of the technique; however, researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, have overcome the acoustic diffraction limit to enable super resolution for detailed imaging of deep tissue, into the microvasculature and capillary vessels. According to, “The technique is based on computational improvements, so it can be performed with existing imaging hardware, and thus could provide a practical and low-cost option for improving biomedical imaging for research and diagnostics.”

National Institutes of Health is working to make super-resolution more accessible

A team at National Institutes of Health is working on new super-resolution microscopes technology and software. After the lab develops the new microscopes, they will release the plans and software for free—at which time any researcher from then on can replicate these advances, fueling new discoveries.

Creating super-resolution designs

Creating a virtual prototype in OpticStudio and LensMechanix can help improve the design process for companies designing super-resolution microscopes and other imaging. Using the Spot Size metric in the Optical Performance Summary ensures that the full optomechanical assembly will perform as expected. This is crucial for super-resolution applications that have exacting requirements.

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