Prof. Dickensheets' Research Group
From left: Sarah Lukes, Warren Foster, David Dickensheets, Tianbo Liu, Ryan Downey, Chris Zhang, Krishna Chattergoon, Seth Kreitinger
Our research interests may be broadly categorized as device development, which includes MOEMS devices (MOEMS is an acronym for Micro-Opto-Electro-Mechanical Systems), and associated advances in micro- and nanofabrication technology, and optical instrument design, especially imaging instruments that employ novel micro-optical devices to deliver previously impossible performance.
Microdevice development projects
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 spherical aberration. 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 like smart phone cameras. Other device development efforts have included molded silicon nitride pointing mirrors, full 3-D mirrors with both focus and 2-D beam scanning capability, and nanostructured silicon devices with applications in diffractive optics, polarization control, polarization imaging and for ultra-black surfaces. Click on a thumbnail image on the right to find out more about that device.
- Deformable membrane focus control mirrors
- 3D MEMS mirrors for full x-y-z focus scanning
- Nanostructured polarization optics for atmospheric remote sensing
- Nanotextured black silicon
- Closed loop control for full-gap deflection of electrostatic devices
- Nanostructured silicon for diffractive optical elements
Molded surface micromachined structures
3-D MEMS mirror for laser scanning/focus control
Optical Instrument Development Projects
Our instrument development work includes both handheld and bench-top scanning laser microscopes for medical imaging and biology research. Most of these instruments benefit from use of MOEMS devices for beam scanning, focusing or aberration correction to advance performance while reducing the size, weight and power consumption. For example, a pencil probe for real-time skin microscopy may lead to immediate diagnosis of skin cancer without requiring a tissue biopsy. An active/adaptive two-photon microscope enables fast scanning with full aberration control throughout a 3D volume in thick biological samples. Other instrument development projects we've worked on included millimeter-dimension confocal microscopes, dynamic focus optical coherence tomography (OCT) for tissue imaging, a handheld confocal microscope with Raman sampling for skin cancer detection, and the CMaRS confocal microscope and Raman spectrometer developed as a proof-of-concept for exploration of the Martian surface. Our group has also contributed to a miniature head-mounted fluorescence microscope for brain studies of ambulatory animals. Click on a thumbnail image on the right to find out more about that instrument.
Please contact us for additional information about any of these projects.
- Integrated Widefield Imaging and Confocal Microscopy for Dermoscopy
Dynamic Focus Confocal Microscope for Live Animal Imaging
Confocal Microscope with Raman Sampling for Skin Imaging
- Dynamic focus OCT
Endoscopic Confocal Microscope
CMaRS Confocal Microscope and Raman Spectrometer for planetary exploration