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The next generation 4Pi microscope is here.  And it has adaptive optics.

Posted by Michael Feinberg on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 @ 04:02 PM

Tags: deformable mirror, adaptive optics, biological imaging, two photon, fluorescence, microscopy

Recently, work has been going on at Yale W-4PiSMSN Whole Cell 4Pi single marker switching nanoscopy graphical abstractUniversity, the Gurdon Institute at Cambridge University and Purdue University with funding provided by the Wellcome Trust Research Programme to develop a high resolution widefield microscope capable of imaging entire cell structures at once. This group has published an article in the journal Cell which describes the W-4PiSMSN (Whole Cell - 4Pi single marker switching nanoscopy).  In this article they show the results of imaging the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), bacteriophages, mitochondria, nuclear pore complexes, primary cilia, Golgi-apparatus-associated COPI vesicles, and mouse spermatocyte synaptonemal complexes.  The instrument includes two Boston Micromachines Multi Deformable Mirrors which are used to optimize the optical wavefront due to aberrations in both the instrument and biological sample.  We're so excited about this incredible breakthrough and I am sure you will be too!!!!

The full article, images and videos can be found here:



What You Missed this Month in the Adaptive Optics Industry

Posted by Angelica Perrone on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 @ 12:00 PM

Tags: deformable mirror, adaptive optics, biological imaging, BMC, imaging systems, two photon, microscopy, Mirrors, astronomy

If you've been hiding out in the lab, constantly checking your March Madness bracket, or escaping the cold to find any ounce of warmth (like me!), chances are you may have missed some exciting news. March turned out to be quite a busy month in the Adaptive Optics world, so here’s what you missed:

1. Exoplanet imaging in under a minute

At the recent AAAS 2015 annual meeting, Bruce Macintosh from Stanford University and Principal Investigator for the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), discussed that there are over 1,000 confirmed planets due to the help of Adaptive Optics. In order to start really understanding a planet and its characteristics, you need to look at the composition of its atmosphere. Astronomers have relied heavily on the adaptive optics technique, allowing for distortion correction of the atmosphere using a deformable mirror. This has had proven success in regards to GPI, which uses a BMC deformable mirror (4K-DM), as part of its adaptive optics system. It can image planets in about a minute, which used to take up to an hour! GPI recently imaged the HR8799 star system, with three orbiting planets. Since November 2013, GPI has imaged 600 stars and identified 50-60 new planets.

2. 2nd quadruple star system discovered 

More exciting news from the Astronomy world was the discovery of a massive planet with a quadruple star system only 125 light-years from Earth. Discovered by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, they were able to detect the fourth star after fitting the telescopes at the Palomar Observatory with a Robo-AO adaptive optics system. Utilizing the AO technique allowed astronomers to pick up on the faint star that couldn’t be seen before. Below is a diagram illustrating the discovered Ari 30 alongside its pair in a binary systems. Before this detection, only one other planet in a quadruple star system had been discovered before. More sightings are being predicted as exoplanets are found, with the help of Adaptive Optics systems of course!Ari 30 system resized 600

(Photo credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech)

3. The most valuable brains 

Congratulations to Scientists Winfried Denk, Arthur Konnerth, Karel Svoboda and David Tank for being awarded the world’s most valuable neuroscience prize, The Brain Prize, for the invention and development of two-photon microscopy! Two-photon microscopy is helping researchers to understand the human brain and how its networks process information, such as nerve cell communication. It has also enabled the study of nerve cells that control vision, hearing and movement. Recent work has been carried out to implement adaptive optics systems on two-photon microscope systems around the word, including locations such as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Institute Langevin at CNRS and Boston University. Standing on the shoulders of giants to improve imaging of the brain with AO!

Now that you are caught up with some of the biggest achievements using Adaptive Optics this past month, check out all of our deformable mirror products that are used in AO instruments like GPI on our website. Questions? Looking for a deformable mirror that will fit your needs? Contact BMC here



AO 101 Whitepaper

Looking to learn more about Adaptive Optics? Download our whitepaper to learn the fundamentals and how our customers are implemeting our DM's into their AO systems. 





Article links:

Telescope tech lets us Look directly at new worlds
Spotted: A planet 10 times the size of Jupiter with four suns
Two photon Microscopy inventors awarded the most valuable neuroscience prize 

New Results by Dr. Meng Cui at HHMI Using Segmented 492-DM

Posted by Angelica Perrone on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 @ 11:00 AM

Tags: deformable mirror, adaptive optics, boston micromachines, resolution, biological imaging, deep tissue microscopy, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Farm Research Campus, SLM, spatial light modulator, BMC, imaging systems, two photon, fluorescence, segmented, microscopy

Segmented 492-DMDr. Meng Cui at the Howard Hughes Medical Center has recently pioneered Super Penetration Multi-Photon Microscopy (S-MPM) at the Cui Lab. He has successfully reported on focusing light through static and dynamic strongly scattering media using our segmented 492-DM (See more on the application here). By using the iterative multi-photon adaptive compensation technique (IMPACT), he since reported new results on in vivo fluorescence microscopy, providing a unique solution to noninvasive brain imaging. I HIGHLY encourage everyone to read his paper for in depth details of his technique here.

As of today, IMPACT has been the only technique used for in vivo microscopy. Due to the complicated wavefront distortion encountered in highly scattering biological tissue, IMPACT has the highest success rate in enabling neuron imaging through intact skulls of adult mice. Through Dr. Cui's testing, he has proven that even with the unpredictable motion of awake mice, IMPACT using the segmented 492-DM were able to perform wavefront measurements and improve the image quality.

Dr. Cui used the BMC segmented 492-DM as both the wavefront modulation and correction device. The IMPACT measurement works by splitting the DM’s pixels and running parallel phase modulation with each actuator at a unique frequency. Modulating only a portion of the pixels while keeping the rest stationary, a linear phase shift is then used as a function of time over the entire 2π phase range. The unique modulation frequency then becomes the unique phase slope value.  At the end of the modulation, a Fourier transform is used in IMPACT to determine the correction phase values. Dr. Cui then goes on to explain in detail how to determine what fraction of the pixels should be modulated, how to split the pixels into two evenly distributed groups and how the Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem is integrated.

The imaging starts by setting the laser beam at the point of interest. The parallel phase modulation begins at one half at a time. As the measurement progresses, the laser focus becomes stronger, and laser power is gradually reduced to preserve the fluorescence signal from the sample. At the conclusion of the measurement, the compensated wavefront is displayed on the DM, and laser scanning in a conventional scope is begun. Figure 1 below shows the test setup for the experiment.

Meng Cui multiphoton microscopy test bed

Figure 1. Setup of the multiphoton microscope integrated with IMPACT. 

Dr. Cui used IMPACT for imaging the dendrites and spines of layer 5 pyramidal cells, in vivo at 650-670um under the dura in the mouse S1 cortex. In Media 1 below, you can see they are hardly resolvable with system correction only. In Media 2, you can see the dendrites and spines are clearly determined when full compensation has been applied.


Meng Video media 2Meng Video media 3Media 1. Hardly resovable dendrites and spines        Media 2. Resolved dendrites and spines


For the first time, IMPACT enabled in vivo two-photon fluorescence imaging through the intact skull of adult mice.  The technique also improved the fluorescence signal by a factor of ~20, along with overall resolution and contrast, this has proven to be a much greater adaptive optics imaging method than any other before. Dr. Cui also concluded that through these experiments, he found it worked well for awake, head-restrained animal imaging, providing a new and innovative solution for noninvasive studies of the mouse brain.

For more information on research going on at the Cui Lab, click here.

If you are interested in finding out more information on how the segmented 492-DM can help you achieve fluorescent imaging, please contact us here!

Improved Retinal Imaging Resolution with the AOSLO

Posted by Angelica Perrone on Fri, Dec 06, 2013 @ 03:30 PM

Tags: adaptive optics, boston micromachines, biological imaging, imaging systems, retinal imaging, microscopy, Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ohphthalmoscope, Joslin Diabetes Center, OCT, ARVO

It has been quite some time since our last blog post due to a great deal going on at BMC! Alongside some new product releases, we recently made a few adjustments and updates to our ophthalmic imaging instrument, the Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope (AOSLO) which we are releasing early next year.

This next-generation instrument allows in vivo retinal imaging on a cellular level and is currently undergoing beta testing at the Beetham Eye Institute at Joslin Diabetes Center, led by Dr. Jennifer Sun and her team. There it is being used to directly quantify features such as cone density, microaneurysm size and measure blood flow through the microvasculature in the retina. By pairing a Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope (SLO) with advanced Adaptive Optics, it offers the advantage of imaging the retina at a resolution 2-3 times that of a standard SLO. 

The AOSLO is also capable of measuring various properties of retinal cone physiology. Due to its enhanced imaging and software, it enables evaluation of the following attributes:

  • Cone Density
  • Nearest Neighbor Distance
  • Voronoi Tessellation Tile Area
  • Effective Radius
  • Packing Factor

The AOSLO’s ability to measure such features allows early stage detection of visual decline due to diabetes. This can be identified by the decrease in cone regularity, cone mosaic changes, cone reflectance and a decrease regularity of cone spacing. This function of the AOSLO can help determine early treatment plans for patients and generate further investigative studies.

                When testing out the AOSLO at Joslin, we found something very interesting out about our CEO, Paul Bierden. The pictures below depict his own retina, discovering that he has a microaneurysm! This was unexpected news, since normally it would be undetectable by any other retinal imaging systems. 30% of the microaneurysms imaged using the AOSLO at Joslin were not visible in fundus photos. The AOSLO is able to accomplish this by evaluating the vascular and neural retinal planes in vivo with cell-scale resolution. The pictures below also point out the microaneurysm attributes that can be measured. They are:

  • DimensionMicroaneurysm measurmens
  • Presence of lumen clot
  • Wall reflectivity


Lastly, the AOSLO is able to measure small-vessel blood flow. This is done with the help of its enhanced imaging qualities, instrument optimization and post-processing software. By stopping a horizontal scan over a blood vessel, it can measure the blood velocity by tracking the moving erythrocytes over a scanning line. With this information, researchers can produce a blood velocity profile for retinal vessels. See the video below to see how it’s done!

If you have any interest in using the AOSLO, let us know!  Please give us a call and let us know about your research. We are accepting orders for the new instrument and are open to collaborative grant applications to secure funding. If you are interested in seeing the AOSLO in action, we are setting up appointments now for the next few months.  We hope to hear from you soon!

Further focus at CLEO 2013

Posted by Michael Feinberg on Tue, Jul 09, 2013 @ 12:54 PM

Tags: deformable mirror, adaptive optics, boston micromachines, laser beam, laser science, biological imaging, deep tissue microscopy, BMC, two photon, free-space communication, modulating retroreflector, optical chopper, optical modulator, chopper, UAV, pulse, pulse width, laser pulse shaping, ultrafast lasers, CLEO, AOM, acousto-optic modulator, speed, shutter

It's been a few weeks since we returned frocleo resized 600m the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics 2013 and now that we're settled back in to the daily routine, I thought I would give some highlights on the show. I was happy to be joined this time by our new Marketing and Communications Specialist, Angelica Perrone, who did a great job navigating the complex photonics market for the first time.

While the conference seems to be chugging along at a nice pace, the tradeshow has most definitely become a smaller venue.  We were once again hosted by our strategic partner, Thorlabs (thanks, again guys!) and being in such a central location on the floor, we were able to get a good flavor for the pace of the show.  Here are my thoughts:

Little, different, yellow, better

Anybody get that Nuprin reference?  Anybody? See what I 'm talking about here.

Okay, so it's not yellow (although yellow lasers are cool), but the show is definitely getting smaller.  I mentioned to a colleague that since the show is in San Jose for the second year in the row, it seemed like the barriers on either end of the tradeshow floor had moved in just a bit. 

As far as different, the show is not like other photonics shows in that it is pretty focused in its applications.  While there were some interesting talks on microscopy, this was a small portion of the material, with most others focussing on more laser-centric applications, as the title of the conference implies. 

As far as better, I would say that for BMC, it was most definitely better for our new products:  The Reflective Optical Chopper(ROC) and the Linear Array DM.  We recieved more interest in these products over our legacy deformable mirror technologies. This is exciting for me as a product marketer and salesperson and even moreso as a member of a company that is always looking for new avenues for our technology. We see the ROC being useful for users who span from pure laser scientists to imaging engineers interested in chopping a beam at high speed with either a constant or variable duty cycle.  The linear array has already proven useful in pulse shaping applications as described in our whitepaper, which is available for download here.  Both products are available for purchase now.

Our Wavefront Sensorless Adaptive Optics Demonstrator for Beam Shaping (WSAOD-B)also generated some buzz. More and more applications which require wavefront correction are surfacing and need a solution without a wavefront sensor.

In all, it was a good show that has given me and my team work to do as we explore more exotic applications for our technology.  I look forward to joining the show again next year and I hope to connect with all of you again in the near future!

For more information on the products mentioned above, please visit our website and download our whitepapers.

Dr. Meng Cui of HHMI Discusses Deep Tissue Microscopy Technique

Posted by Michael Feinberg on Wed, Aug 01, 2012 @ 02:39 PM

Tags: deformable mirror, adaptive optics, biological imaging, deep tissue microscopy, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Farm Research Campus

hhmi logo

Our customers are constantly making exciting scientific discoveries and we’re proud of the part our deformable mirrors play in their research. Dr. Meng Cui, Lab Head at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Farm Research Campus recently presented the Iterative MultiphotonAdvanced in Biological Photnics Adaptive Compensation Technique (IMPACT) that his team has developed for deep tissue microscopy at a webinar on “Advances in Biomedical Photonics”.  In Dr. Cui’s presentation he discussed IMPACT which utilizes iterative feedback and the nonlinearity of two-photon signals to measure and compensate wavefront distortion introduced in tissue.  He gave details on the imaging results on a variety of biological tissue including brain tissue through mouse skull and labeled  T cells inside lymph nodes and compared his team's technique with conventional adaptive optics methods.   For more details on Dr. Cui’s research you can view the entire webinar which was presented by Photonics Media at  Details of the research can be downloaded from the following site:

CLEO 2012: Concentrated Interest in Adaptive Optics

Posted by Michael Feinberg on Wed, Jun 06, 2012 @ 03:49 PM

Tags: deformable mirror, adaptive optics, boston micromachines, laser science, biological imaging, astronomy, CLEO


This year, the CLEO Conference had its normal interesting character:  A variety of users from hardcore laser scientists to focused business interests to laser scanning imaging folks.  BostonMEMS Optical Modulator Micromachines took our position within the Thorlabs booth for the 5th year(thanks again, guys!) and demonstrated some great technologies that we think will make an impact in the industry.  Our MEMS Optical Modulator  generated a fair amount of interest and prompted some great questions about its capabilities and possibilities.  We showed its flexibility by demonstrating how with a simple input signal and an amplifier, a reflective diffractive element can be used to couple light into a fiber at varying frequency and amplitude.  We went into the show thinking this would be the big topic of conversation.  While we did have some great conversations and we’re more than happy with the response, the real star of the show was our Wavefront Sensorless Adaptive Optics Demonstrator for Beam Shaping. Users from all walks of the laser industry approached me with potential uses from wavefront characterizationWavefront Sensorless Adaptive Optics Demonstrator techniques to photon counting.  I learned that the simplistic nature of the kit (maximize a signal through a pinhole) allows researchers with very different backgrounds to think of interesting ways to take advantage of its versatility.  We found that the simple, clear spot on the screen was enough to entice microscopists and laser scientists alike to brainstorm interesting ways in which to integrate the deformable mirror, detector and algorithm of the system into their latest work.  I am looking forward to some great follow-up conversations!

I did get the chance to venture out of the booth for a few talks as well as touch base with some new and old friends.  Major impressions:

1)      AO is still not a major player in laser science

While there were some interesting topics and uses of deformable mirrors and spatial light modulators, the technique is by no means pervasive as in other industries such as astronomy or biological imaging.  Other techniques such as MIIPS (congratulations again, Dr. Dantus) serve the industry and are well proven to be able to satisfactorily shape pulses. Another theory:  Laser scientists prefer to go after the laser for improvements instead of supplementary hardware.  This could be for a variety of reasons such as: a) extra hardware means lost light, b) this is where they are comfortable and love to tweak things or c) the cost is just too high right now.

2)      Beam characterization is becoming more affordable

With a few companies introducing higher speed and lower cost wavefront sensors, the market is becoming more accessible to more researchers.  This can only be good for everyone.

3)      Booth traffic is down, but more focused

In past years, my conversations were usually an even split between educating the visitor about the basics and having in-depth discussions about the capabilities and possibility of integrating devices into optical systems.  This year, the split was more like 75/25 in favor of detailed discussions.  Many are well aware of the background and of the 75%, at least half approach me with well thought-out ideas.  It is very refreshing and encouraging to have these discussions and I suspect the ratio will continue to grow as years go by.

Overall, it was a productive show.  I look forward to returning to San Jose next year and introduce exciting products that we have in our product roadmap and get more people to shape their light!