The following patented ideas are just some of our innovations:
Microscopy Platform iMIC
(Patent US7327514 B2 and US7423806, sold to FEI Munich in 2015)
In 2004, the TILL I.D. GmbH as holder of the patent, the TILL Photonics GmbH as manufacturer and the BioImaging Center of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich as user were awarded together in the context of the Bavarian Prize for Innovation 2004 for the development of the microscopy platform iMIC, the “intelligent microscope”. The same year, the iMIC was awarded the “nobel prize of photonics”, the Prism-Award of the journal “Photonics Spectra”, for the best new device.
The iMIC abandons the common microscope, which has not been changed dramatically during the last 100 years. It is modular, tailored for the new microscopy techniques and completely automatable. The iMIC allows more than 100.000 samples to be scanned spatially. Being compact and entirely capsulated the iMIC can be used in the clean room as well as in space.
Until recently the iMIC was marketed by FEI Munich (formerly TILL Photonics) as part of their correlative microscopy platform. For the TILL I.D. it served as the basis for the development of the next generation of microscopy platforms.
Andromeda-II: Spinning Disk with one disk and an excitation beam path which does not go through the pinholes!
This invention intended to create a confocal device for monitoring a sample with a rotating disk that permits high light transmission and a relatively simple design. The new solution avoids the excitation light and the light collected from the sample to go through the same pinhole. This can be achieved because the pinholes are used only by the light collected from the sample, but not by excitation light.
The insertion of an arrangement to shift the length of the beam path in the finite optical path in front of the pinhole mask – to be seen from the objective – allows, for example, to create an excitation dot pattern with one disk and at the same time with pinholes in the same disk to apply a confocal spatial filter. This arrangement adjusts the difference in the beam path between the focus position of the micro-optics and the position of the pinholes for the light collected from the sample.
3D-SIM: Imaging Device
Camera-based fluorescence (bright field) images suffer from an overlay of the desired information from the focal plane with information from other planes in the sample. Therefore, confocal laser scanning techniques, which scan the sample with one or more laser spots, are commonly used for the generation of single-plane images.
Structured illumination microscopy (SIM) represents an alternative concept, which just started to compete with confocal laser scanning techniques. SIM projects a pattern onto the sample, creates a so-called phase image and merges several of these phase images, which were collected at different positions of the pattern.
Our concept does not apply linear line grids, which not only have to be moved linearly in order to generate images with high resolution, but also have to be rotated, but two-dimensional hexagonal patterns, which only have to be shifted linearly to collect all necessary phase images. Compared to a confocal microscope, this approach guarantees reduced damage to the sample, considerably higher velocity and increased resolution. Our SIM microscope is the most practicable of all superresolution techniques!