EU invests five million SEK in the Swedish research institute Acreo and the project Charming. Acreo’s researchers will, together with European partners, develop a method using optical fibers to control the laser pulses employed in microscopy, with the aim to allow a more detailed cell research.
“This is an acknowledgement of Sweden's leading position in Fiber Optics”, says Åsa Claesson, Director of the Fiber Optic business unit at Acreo.
The use of laser beams in biomedical research is becoming more and more common, in particular for microscopy. Time-resolved analysis is frequently used in research to understand the cell processes. This is done by creating luminescence in the cell with very short visible laser pulses (less than a billionth of a second), and then analyzing the light emitted by the cell.
Today there are commercial lasers that create those extremely short light pulses. However, it is difficult to regulate the frequency of the pulses generated. Often the cell response is not completed before the next laser pulse is generated, which destroys the measurement. Using the Acreo specialty fiber, it may be possible to control the time interval between the pulses. If it were possible to regulate the number of pulses using optical fibers, this would open up new possibilities in cell research. Dr. Walter Margulis explains:
“Sometimes you need more time between pulses in order to study a particular part of a cell. If we could develop tools to control the pulses, it would be possible to construct microscopes to study in a much more detailed way how cells are affected by diseases and medicine”
A major part of the Charming project aims at using optical fibers to generate visible light pulses since the optical fiber ensures a perfect beam to focus the light. With its world-leading expertise within electro-optical fibers, Acreo is the obvious choice when making investments in the development of this area.
"Since light propagates in the fiber, it is beneficial to develop fiber-optic components to control the laser pulses; without having to lead the light from the fiber into a bulk component and back into the fiber again" said Dr. Walter Margulis.
The Acreo activities will be carried out over a period of three years (2011-2014) in the research laboratories in Kista and Hudiksvall, starting September this year.
“The project approval proves the importance of our research, and demonstrates Acreo´s leading role in the electro-optical fibers. That feels really good” says Åsa Claesson.
For further information please contact:
Åsa Claesson, Director of the Fiber Optic business unit at Acreo:
+46 650 366 06, asa.claesson(at)acreo.se
Dr. Walter Margulis, Acreo: +46 8 632 7723, walter.margulis(at)acreo.se
Jenny Sperens, Marketing and Communication Manager Acreo
+46 8 632 7777, jenny.sperens(at)acreo.se
About the project
The project Charming will develop fiber optic light sources in the visible wavelength range for applications in fluorescence microscopy and high resolution confocal microscopy. One of the project's challenges is the development of fiber optic components for pulse control and optical wavelength conversion. Charming is part of the EU's 7th Framework Programme, and coordinated by the Belgian Multitel with participants from Sweden (Acreo), Belgium, Britain, Germany, Russia and France.
Read more about the project Charmingat: www.acreo.se/charming