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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University February 25, 2008 | Vol. 37 No. 23
New Technology Makes 3-D Imaging Quicker, Easier

Medical procedures, security screening, video, photography may benefit

By Robin Ferrier
Montgomery County Campus

Technology invented by scientists from Johns Hopkins and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev can make three-dimensional imaging quicker, easier, less expensive and more accurate, the researchers say.

This new technology, dubbed FINCH for Fresnel incoherent correlation holography, could have implications in medical applications such as endoscopy, ophthalmology, CT scanning, X-ray imaging and ultrasounds, co-inventor Gary Brooker said. It also may be applicable to homeland security screening, 3-D photography and 3-D video, he said.

A report presenting the first demonstration of this technology — with a 3-D microscope called a FINCHSCOPE — will appear in the March issue of Nature Photonics and is available now on the journal's Web site.

"Normally, 3-D imaging requires taking multiple images on multiple planes and then reconstructing the images," said Brooker, director of the Johns Hopkins University Microscopy Center located on the university's Montgomery County Campus.

"This is a slow process that is restricted to microscope objectives that have less than optimal resolving power," said Brooker, a research professor of chemistry in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences who also has an appointment in the Whiting School of Engineering's Advanced Technology Laboratory. "For this reason, holography currently is not widely applied to the field of 3-D fluorescence microscopic imaging."

The FINCH technology, and the FINCHSCOPE, uses microscope objectives with the highest resolving power, a spatial light modulator, a charge-coupled device camera and some simple filters to enable the acquisition of 3-D microscopic images without the need for scanning multiple planes.

The Nature Photonics article reports on a use of the FINCHSCOPE to take a 3-D still image, but moving 3-D images are coming, according to Brooker and co-inventor Joseph Rosen, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.

"With traditional 3-D imaging, you cannot capture a moving object," Brooker said. "With the FINCHSCOPE, you can photograph multiple planes at once, enabling you to capture a 3-D image of a moving object. Researchers now will be able to track biological events happening quickly in cells."

"In addition," Rosen said, "the FINCH technique shows great promise in rapidly recording 3-D information in any scene, independent of illumination."

The research was funded by CellOptic and a National Science Foundation grant with the technology being demonstrated using equipment at the Johns Hopkins Montgomery County Campus Microscopy Center.

Brooker and Rosen are founders of Cell-Optic, which owns the FINCH technology. The terms of Brooker's involvement with Cell-Optic are being managed in accordance with Johns Hopkins' conflict- of-interest policy.


Related Web sites

'Nature Photonics'
Microscopy Center


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