Fiber optic probe for high-resolution fluorescence imaging

Fiber optic probes with targeted multispectral and spatiotemporal illumination properties for imaging processes finds new applications in numerous diagnostic biomedical studies. Nevertheless, these fiber optic systems are mostly adapted in standard microscopes, therefore, limiting their use for in vitro applications. Recently t a team of researchers has presented new optical fiber technology based on a variable resolution imaging fiber probe employing a  digital micromirror device (DMD) with an achievable maximum lateral resolution of 2.7 μm and an axial resolution of 5.5 μm, along with accurate shape-selective targeted illumination capability.

The fiber optic probe has been already tested and demonstrated the switching of various wavelengths to image numerous areas in the field of view. Herewith, the targeted illumination property of fiber probes enables advanced image contrast by time-averaged imaging of selected parts with various optical exposure. Therefore, the fiber optic probe makes it possible to facilitate high speed targeted confocal imaging due to the region-specific multidirectional scanning quality.

Despite the fact that multi-photon based imaging systems available with a high spatial and temporal resolution are distinguished, they are not suitable for clinician-friendly fiber probe imaging systems. Thus, the development of the imaging system based on a fiber optic probe presents an incomparable benefit over other traditional microscopic systems. Nowadays, in addition to the standard microscopic system, there are several pieces of research about fiber probes that use conventional structured illumination but high-resolution fiber optic systems with targeted shape-selective optical switching are still underexplored.

Such qualities of fiber probes as high resolution, targeted illumination, and optical switching decrease unwanted illumination of the sample regions. New fiber optic probes allow performing multi-wavelength illumination with various spatial patterns at temporal resolutions better than that of state of the art fiber probe systems. The fiber probe feasibility has been already used for the multidirectional subcellular targeted scanning and imaging by applying mouse kidney sections as test samples. Additionally, optical fiber technology offers “the enhancement in image contrast, by time-averaged imaging of selected regions with different optical exposure and having different scanning patterns.” It should be noted that standard fiber probe imaging techniques employ widefield and confocal approaches, while the new fiber optic system is based on targeted imaging approaches. Targeted imaging techniques and the traditional fiber probe imaging techniques have been compared to analyze the effects of targeted imaging on image quality. Finally, the targeted widefield imaging fiber optic probe provides better contrast compared to the standard probe.

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