Label Free Nanoscopy Using Infra Red
Start date: Apr 1, 2012,
End date: Sep 30, 2015
Every year, Alzheimer's disease (AD) affects about 800,000 new patients in Europe and directly causes 50% of dependency of aged persons. Currently there is no test to diagnose this disease. There is a great need to improve outcomes for patients with lung cancer which causes between 15-28% of all cancer deaths in Europe.Chemical and structural imaging with nanoresolution under ambient conditions can significantly advance our understanding of biological processes at the sub-cellular level and provide understanding of early stage AD and lung cancer, improve the efficacy of therapeutic drugs and evaluate the real impact of nanomaterials to health and safety.In production processes the ability to image defects with nanometre resolution is critical for robust quality control of ‘industrially important’ products e.g. organic photovoltaic devices, antimicrobial textiles and functional coatings on biomedical implants.Nanoscale imaging available today does not permit in situ sub-cellular analysis and integrated metrology. This restricts our ability to optimise nanomaterials processes. Vibrational spectroscopy based imaging tools such as Infra-Red microscopy can provide a solution. Lateral resolutions of such techniques are currently limited to the micrometre range due to diffraction-limits.This project proposes a novel imaging tool Infra Red Nanoscope (IRN) that will break away from this diffraction limit. IRN will significantly improve the lateral resolution of IR microscopy on a table-top set up from the current state-of-the-art of 100 micron to 70 nm. It will also perform 3D imaging at a resolution of 500 nm, which is currently not possible in IR microscopy. A detailed methodology and instrumentation plan exists to implement a ready to commercialise table-top, nanoresolution, IRN. The instrument offers easy operation, flexibility and label free imaging of structure and chemistry that will stimulate new research in cancer treatments and early stage diagnostics of AD.
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