UNIST develops optical microscopy technology that transmits tissue

The Ulsan Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) research team developed an optical microscope technology that allows you to see other tissues beyond living tissue. UNIST announced on the 30th that the research team of Professor Jeong-Hoon Park of the Department of Biomedical Engineering has developed a new wavefront control technology that creates a clear focus by selectively modifying the path of light passing through the central area of ​​the microscope objective.

With this technology, Professor Park's team succeeded in clearly observing the fluorescent beads (beads) hidden behind the 710 µm (micrometer·1 millionth of a meter)-thick rat brain tissue.

According to the research team, it is difficult to observe through an optical microscope when a living tissue is 100 μm thick. This is because there is a lot of scattering of light due to the fact that the constituent materials of biological tissues are diverse, such as proteins and lipids. For this reason, wavefront control technology is needed to correct the path of the scattered light and send it to the original target, the focus. The research team focused on the fact that most of the light is scattered in the direction of travel in living tissues.

It is hypothesized that the more light that passes through the edge of the objective lens and enters the tissue at an angle, the more distance it travels within the tissue and consumes more energy as it collides with cells inside the tissue. The wavefront control method developed by the research team is an efficient method of reinforcing the focus intensity by discarding'low energy light' passing through the edge of the objective lens and sending only'high energy light' passing through the center area to the focus.

In fact, when the same wavefront control time was consumed, the fluorescence signal intensity was increased by 8.9 times compared to the conventional technology, and the contrast between the fluorescent beads and the surrounding background was increased by 2.1 times, the research team explained.

The first author, a researcher at the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Hyungwon Jin, said, it has proven that it is a much more efficient imaging method to selectively control the wavefront of high-energy light rather than the conventional method in a medium such as living tissue (a material through which light passes). .

Professor Park Jeong-hoon said, the technique developed this time can be extended to a technology that treats lesions by transmitting light into living tissues, or an optogenetic technology that controls tissue cells.

This technology contrasts with the existing theory in that it was possible to obtain a high-quality image even though the numerical aperture (a number representing the degree of brightness or resolution of a microscope) was reduced. In general, the numerical aperture is a value proportional to the image resolution. The research results will be published in the April issue of Optica, an international journal in the field of optics.

The research was conducted with the support of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) and the POSCO TJ Park Foundation.

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