Patent Number: 6,166,385

Title: Multi-photon laser microscopy

Abstract: A laser scanning microscope produces molecular excitation in a target material by simultaneous absorption of three or more photons to thereby provide intrinsic three-dimensional resolution. Fluorophores having single photon absorption in the short (ultraviolet or visible) wavelength range are excited by a beam of strongly focused subpicosecond pulses of laser light of relatively long (red or infrared) wavelength range. The fluorophores absorb at about one third, one fourth or an even smaller fraction of the laser wavelength to produce fluorescent images of living cells and other microscopic objects. The fluorescent emission from the fluorophores increases cubicly, quarticly or even higher power law with the excitation intensity so that by focusing the laser light, fluorescence as well as photobleaching are confined to the vicinity of the focal plane. Scanning of the laser beam by a laser scanning microscope allows construction of images by collecting multi-photon excited fluorescence from each point in the scanned object while still satisfying the requirement for very high excitation intensity obtained by focusing the laser beam and by pulse time compressing the beam. The focused pulses also provide three-dimensional spatially resolved photochemistry which is particularly useful in photolytic release of caged effector molecules, marking a recording medium or in laser ablation or microsurgery. This invention refers explicitly to extensions of two-photon excitation where more than two photons are absorbed per excitation in this nonlinear microscopy.

Inventors: Webb; Watt W. (Ithaca, NY), Xu; Chris (Summit, NJ)

Assignee: Cornell Research Foundation, Inc.

International Classification: G02B 21/00 (20060101); G01N 021/39 ()

Expiration Date: 12/26/2017