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Confocal Scanning Systems

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Confocal scanning systems are used for microPIV systems when a small depth of field (a few microns) is needed, to obtain a true planar velocity profile across the height of a microchannel or micro-fluidic device. The confocal scanning system is made up of the scanning module (shown in the figure at left) and the laser illumination module. The scanning module, which captures the image of the flow field, is mounted between the microscope and the camera. The continuous laser has a typical power output of 100 mW and a wavelength of 532 nm. The laser illumination is delivered using a fiber optical cable to the scanning module.

Based on the Nipkow disk scanning technology, the scanning disk in the scanning module includes thousands of pinholes and microlenses allowing the laser light to illuminate the field of view. The camera collects light signal from the seed particles in the flow field going through the scanning disk and appropriate filter. Analysis, using particle tracking or cross correlation algorithm, is performed with the Insight 4G software which provides the vector field in the flow region.

Principles of the Microlens-enhanced Nipkow Disk Scanning Technology

 A Nipkow spinning disk containing about 20,000 pinholes, and a second spinning disk containing the same number of microlenses to focus excitation laser light into each corresponding pinhole, are mechanically fixed with a motor. These disks very rapidly raster scan the field of view with about 1,000 laser beams upon rotation (shown in the schematic diagram below). The pinhole and microlens patterns are arranged in a design to optimize the raster scan. The multi-beam scanning in the system increases the scanning speed while significantly lowering photobleaching and phototoxicity, which ultimately requires less laser power to fully excite the fluorescent particles in the flow field.  

Confocal scanning system - principle


Confocal Scanning System table  

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