What's cutting-edge in optics?
BOW contributor Mike May writes that in the biomedical arena, researchers always want new ways to see more--simply put, it's become increasingly important for them to be able to see more on the nanoscale. To accomplish this, a few innovations have emerged recently: A perovskite oxide-based superlens that cuts photon loss to boost resolution in microscopy; microscope optics that feature an embedded liquid lens , enabling capture of a crisp 2D image in depth in seconds (with option for 3D, which takes minutes); and an iPhone microscope (which I had touted as a "tricked-out iPhone" in my coverage) that uses a 1-3 mm microlens to work in tandem with the iPhone's detector pixels and, of course, be used pretty much anywhere.
Though the aforementioned innovations have yet to reach commercialization, with innovations come optics makers who want in on the biomedical action . I interviewed a handful of optics companies late last year who cite the life sciences market as being a fast-approaching--if not already major--driver of their business, with OEMs and researchers at the head of their pack of customers. Most of these companies can work with OEMs and researchers directly to develop tailor-made solutions at low cost, too.