On October 29, 2020, Phaos Technology Research Team had successfully patented their invention, the microsphere holder.
A holder for the microsphere comprises a first body portion and a second portion coupled to the first body portion. The first body portion and the second body portion being configured to provide a receiving position therebetween for the microsphere, such that when the microspere is at the receiving position, the microsphere is coupled to the first body portion and the second body portion. In another aspect, a lens system for near field optics is disclosed. An optical microscope comprising the holder or the lens system is also disclosed. A microsphere assembly being attachable to an objective lens for near field optics is also disclosed.
Achievable image resolution under visible or white light illumination, with the aid of a conventional optical microscope, is limited by the diffraction limit. Attempts to overcome the diffraction limit include submerging the sample in a liquid, and depositing microspheres directly onto the sample, creating a set-up where the microspheres are in contact with the sample (what is referred to as “contact” nasoscope). Observation of 50 nm feature size has been demonstrated. Super-resolution down to 23 nanometers (nm) is achievable under controlled conditions. Film-based methods and tip-based methods are proposed for applications where it is not desirable to have the microspheres contact the sample. These are just as difficult to implement outside a controlled environment or outside a laboratory for various reasons, such as the fragility of a tip-based set up. Understandably, film-based (membrane-based) set-ups are just as challenging, facing issues with image aberrations or images having very low contrasts as a result of the membrane on which the microspheres are deposited.
Owing to these and other challenges, optical microsphere nanoscopy largely remains as an essentially laboratory-based technique even to this day. Yet, there are a broad range of applications which can benefit if optical microsphere nanoscopes can be robust, portable, and operable on objects or samples found in ambient air conditions, using visible light illumination.
Some examples of industrial applications include precision manufacturing, semiconductor manufacturing and integrated circuit chip production, inspection of large-scale aerospace structures on site for enhanced quality control, etc.
The holder includes a first body portion and a second body portion coupled to the first body portion. Both bodies are being configured to provide a receiving position therebetween for the microsphere, such that when the microsphere is at the receiving position, the microsphere is coupled to both bodies.
Additionally, the microsphere is coupled to the first body portion at a first coupling portion and the microsphere is coupled to the second body portion at a second coupling portion. The first coupling portion is distinct from the second coupling portion. As an option, the first and second body portion are configured to at least clasp the microsphere at the receiving position.
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