A new giant lens for confocal mesoscopy

William Amos, Johanna Trägårdh, Rumelo Amor, John Dempster, Gail McConnell

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Optical lenses reached the limit of resolution set by the wavelength of light more than a century ago. However, no attempt was made to achieve the maximum resolution in the case of low-magnification lenses. Currently available lenses of less than 10x magnification have numerical apertures of 0.2 or less, as compared with 1.3 or more in high-power lenses. With such low numerical aperture, thin confocal optical sections cannot be obtained.
We have developed a novel lens system called the Mesolens, which, with a magnification of 4x and an N.A. of 0.5, combines high spatial resolution with an wide field of view. When compared with a standard 4x objective, its lateral resolution is 2.5 to 5 times better, and its depth resolution is 10 times better. This lens provides, for the first time, good optical sectioning of specimens as large as entire 10 day mouse embryos (5mm long) with subcellular detail in every developing organ. The wide field of view removes the need for stitching and tiling to image the entire embryo. The lens needs a higher degree of aberration control than in any standard camera lens, resulting in an optical train of 50cm x 7 cm [1], and we have developed the imaging system to accommodate this.
We will show recent data and discuss the Mesolens and its applications, including unexpected ones such as the detection of bioluminescent labels in individual cells at near-video rates, which is made possible by the high capture efficiency of the lens.
[1] “New lens offers a brighter outlook”, Science 335 1562-3 (2012).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2014
EventPhoton14 - Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Sept 20144 Sept 2014


Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • optical lenses
  • confocal mesoscopy
  • low-magnification lenses


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