Abstract

The design, analysis, assembly methods, and optical-bench test results for a miniature injection-molded plastic objective lens used in a fiber-optic confocal reflectance microscope are presented. The five-lens plastic objective was tested as a stand-alone optical system before its integration into a confocal microscope for in vivo imaging of cells and tissue. Changing the spacing and rotation of the individual optical elements can compensate for fabrication inaccuracies and improve performance. The system performance of the miniature objective lens is measured by use of an industry-accepted slanted-edge modulation transfer function (MTF) metric. An estimated Strehl ratio of 0.61 and a MTF value of 0.66 at the fiber-optic bundle Nyquist frequency have been obtained. The optical bench testing system is configured to permit interactive optical alignment during testing to optimize performance. These results are part of an effort to demonstrate the manufacturability of low-cost, high-performance biomedical optics for high-resolution in vivo imaging. Disposable endoscopic microscope objectives could help in vivo confocal microscopy technology mature to permit wide-scale clinical screening and detection of early cancers and precancerous lesions.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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