News | February 4, 2013

SCHOTT Presents Optical Materials For Advanced Microscopy Design At BiOS/SPIE Photonics West

SCHOTT will demonstrate high-transmittance special glasses for optimized color correction and optical filters at the expo

Driven by increased research in the fields of life sciences and nanotechnology, the demand for high-end microscopes is on the rise. SCHOTT North America has been enabling advances in this market for more than 125 years and will present its comprehensive portfolio of optical materials and components for light and fluorescence microscopy at the BiOS/SPIE Photonics West show in San Francisco from Feb. 2-7, 2013.

SCHOTT will showcase filters for fluorescence microscopy and glasses for color correction with high transmittance as well as other materials and optics at booth #8218.

The global microscope market earned revenues of $3.18B in 2011. According to an analysis by Frost & Sullivan, it is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8 percent between 2012 and 2018. While the market for light microscopes serving traditional applications and educational use seems fairly saturated, emerging applications, such as nanotechnology, fluorescence, and Raman microscopy for life sciences, are creating a strong demand in the high-end segment.

Filters for fluorescence microscopy
“A very high resolution can be reached with multiphoton fluorescence microscopy, for example, that uses light at specific wavelengths to excite fluorescence in the sample. These microscopes require strong light sources such as lasers as well as high precision filters,” said Dr. Steffen Reichel, part of the Application and Development team at SCHOTT Advanced Optics. “We offer one of the world’s broadest portfolios of optical filters for a full spectral solution—from bandpass and contrast enhancement filters to interference filters or VERIL filters that change the center wavelength of the bandpass over the length of the filter.”

Since digital imaging is increasingly being integrated into microscopes, filters are also needed to protect the image sensor from overexposure to IR light. “The filters that have been used in the past were made of coated glass. But with the rising resolution of the image sensor, they caused falsified colors and ghost images,” Reichel explained. “These types of image defects can now be avoided with a new climate-resistant blue glass that we have developed with various transmission properties.”

Glasses for color correction with high transmittance
“High-end microscopes require optical materials that offer excellent transmission from the near UV to the near IR range, as well as extremely low autofluorescence that could tamper with the measurement results,” said Dr. Ralf Jedamzik, also part of the Application and Development team at SCHOTT. “Our short flint glasses have an outstanding anomalous partial dispersion and low autofluorescence. Together with our low dispersion glasses like N-FK51A and N-PK52A, these special optical glasses offer excellent apochromatic lens design possibilities. We have now released a new glass with significantly improved transmission, the N-KZFS4HT.”

Laser damage threshold of optical glasses
Because pulsed lasers are often used to excite the sample’s fluorescence through the microscope’s optical lenses, SCHOTT has now examined the laser damage threshold of various glasses covering a broad range of different refractive indices and Abbe numbers. The laser damage testing was performed by the Laser Zentrum Hannover in Germany according to international standards. The results now complete the glass types’ characterization and lens design.

To facilitate the optical design of these materials, SCHOTT now also provides data on the laser damage threshold of optical glasses. Dr. Ralf Jedamzik and Frank Elsmann will present a paper on this topic at Photonics West—“ Recent results on bulk laser damage threshold of optical glasses ”—on Feb. 5 from 4:20 to 4:40 p.m. PST.

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SCHOTT is an international technology group with more than 125 years of experience in the areas of specialty glasses and materials and advanced technologies. SCHOTT ranks number one in the world with many of its products. Its core markets are the household appliance, pharmaceuticals, electronics, optics, solar power, transportation and architecture industries. The company is strongly committed to contributing to its customers’ success and making SCHOTT an important part of people’s lives with high-quality products and intelligent solutions. SCHOTT is committed to managing its business in a sustainable manner and supporting its employees, society and the environment. The SCHOTT Group maintains close proximity to its customers with manufacturing and sales units in all major markets. Its workforce of around 17,000 employees generated worldwide sales of $4B (approximately 2.9 billion euros) for the 2010/2011 fiscal year.

SOURCE: SCHOTT North America