Prof. Dickensheets' Research

3d mirror

ME MS “3-D mirror” for tip, tilt and focus control

Professor Dickensheets’ research interests may be broadly categorized as device development which includes advances in micro- and nanofabrication technology, and optical instrument design, especially miniaturized instruments that employ novel micro-optical devices to deliver previously impossible performance.

An example of our device work is a variable focus lens based on a deformable, reflective membrane. This device allows fast focus control with simultaneous correction of common optical aberrations. Because of its small size, excellent performance and low power consumption, it will be useful for miniaturized instruments such as endoscopic microscopes, or for commercial devices such as cell phone cameras. Other device development efforts include molded silicon nitride pointing mirrors and other structures, a full 3-D mirror with both focus and 2-D beam scanning capability, and nanostructured silicon for diffractive and integrated optics applications.


Handheld Confocal Microscope

An example of our instrument development work is a handheld confocal microscope with built-in Raman backscatter sampling for skin cancer imaging and diagnosis, a project under way in partnership with researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. This instrument benefits from a MEMS scanner to reduce size, weight and power consumption, and may lead to immediate diagnosis of skin cancer without requiring a tissue biopsy. Other instrument development efforts include dynamic focus optical

coherence tomography (OCT) in partnership with researchers at University of Toronto, and the CMaRS confocal microscope and Raman spectrometer developed as a proof-of-concept for exploration of the Martian surface.

Please contact us for additional information about any of these projects.

Microdevice development projects

Active Projects:

Recent Projects:

  • Molded surface micromachined structures

  • 3-D MEMS mirror for laser scanning/focus control

Optical Instrument Development Projects

Active Projects:

  • Confocal Microscope with Raman Sampling for Skin Imaging 

  • Dynamic focus OCT
  • Dynamic Focus Microscope for Live Animal Imaging

Recent Projects:

  • Endoscopic Confocal Microscope

  • CMaRS Confocal Microscope and Raman Spectrometer for planetary exploration