Design of an affordable fluorescence confocal laser scanning microscope for medical diagnostics
Confocal fluorescence microscopes are a promising imaging tool in medical diagnostics due to their capability to selectively survey cross-sections of individual layers from 'thick' samples. Non-invasive depth resolved investigation of neoplastic skin disorders is one example among other applications. However these microscopes are at present uncommon in medical practice. This is due to their main application area in research. The instruments dealt with here are generally complex, stationary units and are accordingly cost-intensive. It is for this reason, that we have designed a robust and portable MEMS based confocal fluorescence microscope with a field of view of 0.6mm x 0.6mm. This has been made possible by the integration of a 2D micro scanner mirror developed at Fraunhofer IPMS. A variable acquisition depth of cross-sectional images of the fluorescence specimen is enabled by an integrated z-shifter. With the use of commercially available optics an optical demonstrator set up has been realized. To characterize and to demonstrate the ability of this system test measurements were performed. The resolution of the microscope is better than 228 lp/mm determined by 1951 USAF resolution test target. Images of various biological samples are presented and optical sectioning capabilities are shown. A comparison of the measured with the predicted system performance will be given.