What are the current scale or resolution ranges of the technologies the BSISB program develop and/or use?

  • The label-free broadband Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) microscopy is developed and used to measure the chemistry of biological processes in specimens up to 30 µm thick and 300 µm wide, with a spatial resolution across the mid-infrared wavelength scales from 2 to 15 µm (from bacteria/archaea, trace biofilms, to plant cells), providing vibrational intensity maps that visualize contributions from molecular functional groups in a specimen.
  • The signal-to-noise of FTIR spectromicroscopy increases at least 100 fold by switching the mid-infrared source from a commercial thermal element to a bright accelerator-based Synchrotron Infrared (SIR) beam coupled to a single point detector.
  • A current focus of our group is to construct a homogeneously illuminated full-field Synchrotron Infrared (SIR) spectral imaging platform to expand and modulate the SIR beam to fill a Focal Plane Array (FPA) using adaptive optics components.
  • Another current focus is to use structured illumination to improve the spatial resolution two fold, between 1 and 7 µm.

What is synchrotron infrared light and why is it useful?

Synchrotron infrared light is simply infrared light that is produced from a synchrotron. Although most synchrotron light sources are optimized to produce X-ray and vacuum ultraviolet radiation, they also produce broad band radiation in the infrared region. The primary advantage of synchrotron infrared radiation is its brightness. Because the light originates from a small packet of electrons, the source can be treated as a point source. Thus, infrared light from a synchrotron can be easily collimated and/or focused to diffraction limited spot sizes (~1-10 μm), allowing high spatial resolution (infrared spectromicroscopy) and high spectral resolution.

High Brightness

  • Diffraction-limited spot sizes for microscopy
  • Easily collimated for high spectral resolution

More Far-IR Flux

  • Increased Signal to Noise
  • Smaller samples

Pulsed Source

  • Fast timing measurements (nanosecond)