Optical endoscopy plays an important role in the early diagnosis and treatment of medical imaging, disease, and minimally invasive surgery. Especially fiber-based endoscopes, because of its high integration, small size, high image quality, small damage to patients is widely used in clinical diagnosis and treatment.
The best existing optical fiber endoscope is based on the gradient refractive index of the optical lens to form a focus on the transmission of light in the fiber to achieve the lesion of the illumination and imaging of the dual objectives (Figure 1). However, due to the complexity of the gradient refractive index lens and the required refractive index gradient characteristics, it is technically difficult to achieve miniaturization of the integration. The existing fiber endoscope size is between 5-10 mm. So to achieve minimally invasive or noninvasive surgery has a certain degree of difficulty. On the other hand, since the gradient refractive index lens is theoretically unable to realize a large numerical aperture, its imaging resolution is low, typically about 10 microns. This resolution can achieve the imaging of organisms and cells, but it is not enough to clearly see the different parts of the cell, to achieve early screening of the disease is still not enough.
Swinburne University of Technology recently developed the oxide graphene film lens (http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/150922/ncomms9433/full/ncomms9433.html) for the ultra-small high-resolution optical fiber endoscope technology. The revolution offers the possibility. The graphene film lens is subjected to laser pattern processing on a layer of very thin (~ several tens to several hundred nanometers) of graphene film to achieve the focusing function. The graphene lens can be ultra-thin and ultra-miniaturized because it does not rely on the need for conventional lenses to perform wave front shaping through geometric curvature. The existing lens has a minimum size of 5 to 10 microns, less than one tenth of the diameter of a person's hair. On the other hand, graphene lenses based on precision laser processing can achieve ultra-high resolution of submicron orders of magnitude.
Project features: the development of the world's smallest, the highest resolution of endoscopic equipment. Can be used for minimally invasive surgery, in vivo imaging, vascular imaging cannot be achieved now high-end medical treatment.
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