We propose to build an optical microscope that will use novel quantum optical concepts in order to break the Rayleigh-Abbe resolution limits of standard optical microscopy. Optical microscopy is still the workhorse of biological and medical research, allowing researchers direct visible view of the microscopic world, and any improvement in the field could have significant impact. Several innovative techniques have been demonstrated in recent years to achieve super resolution, most relate to fluorescence microscopy and requires highly nonlinear excitations and/or novel fluorescence probes, and therefore have more specific applications.
Our goal is to demonstrate a general-purpose machine, that is, a microscope that should be able to inspect general transparent or fluorescent objects, in particular biological and medical specimens, and will include several observation modalities. The high-resolution capabilities of the microscope will come from the application of novel photon-number resolving detectors and non-classical light sources. Our strategy is to build this microscope around a standard laser scanning microscope concept, yet we will achieve sub-diffraction imaging by resolving features within the classical diffraction limited spot of the scanning beam. Fast photon-number resolving detectors will record spatial and temporal distributions of photons at the image plane, enabling quantum correlations for enhanced resolution. We will consider several forms of illuminations both classical and quantum light and several microscope modalities, including fluorescence, dark field and differential interference contrast microscopy. We shall also investigate methods to combine quantum microscopy with nonlinear microscopy for further enhancement of resolution. Beyond its immediate goals, this research program will help to determine weather the more novel ideas of quantum metrology are indeed relevant for practical microscopy.
Call for proposal
See other projects for this call