Distant Focus was awarded an SBIR phase I contract in 2005 and a Phase II contract in 2006 to design and construct a dual function optical coherence microscope (OCM) and multi-photon fluorescence microscope (MPM). This laser scanning microscope is was designed to assist NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) personnel research tissue engineered medical products. Distant Focus has teamed with Professor Stephen Boppart of the University of Illinois to transfer technology to near-commercial realization while assuring that the instrument meets stringent performance objectives.
Optical coherence microscopy (OCM) extends the capabilities of OCT and confocal microscopy by combining high sensitivity and coherence gated detection with confocal optical sectioning. The result is an improvement in the rejection of undesirable light scattered from outside the imaging region thereby leading to a dramatic contrast enhancement in imaging structural elements. Multi-photon fluorescence microscopy (MPM) has become a well established optical imaging technique for acquiring functional information. This microscope simultaneously acquires OCM and MPM information through layered, high resolution 2D scans of the sample. The basis for this system centered on the OCM/MPM research instrument developed by the group at the University of Illinois. DFC has implemented a series of modifications to improve the performance in order to meet NIST's specifications. This system implements spectral domain OCT to allow for improved focus tracking and dual-speed interlaced galvanometer-based x-y scanning to provide rapid, optimized exposures for each modality. This dual function microscope has the potential to be a valuable resource in the interdisciplinary field of regenerative medicine. The unique configuration of the proposed setup provides the opportunity to obtain both anatomical and functional imaging information. It will thus have a huge potential as an diagnostic tool for future investigations into the growth and organization of engineered tissues and in cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions.