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Advanced Imaging Magazine | April 6, 2007
Boston Micromachine's New Deformable Mirror to Enhance Retinal Imaging Systems for Earlier Detection of Leading Eye Diseases

Boston Micromachines Corporation (Watertown, Mass.), a leading provider of MEMS-based deformable mirror (DM) products for adaptive optics (AO) systems, today announced it has manufactured an enhanced DM capable of meeting the criteria for ultra-high resolution retinal imaging, which is necessary for early detection of ocular diseases. The new mirror will meet the demanding requirements of both OEM retinal imaging systems as well as vision science and microscopy researchers who use AO for biological imaging.

"This new deformable mirror represents a significant scientific advancement in the field of biological imaging, specifically vision science. Until now doctors were limited in their ability to gain a clear view of the human retina due to image distortion caused by tissue-induced wavefront aberration. Our deformable mirror corrects for that wavefront aberration," said Paul Bierden, president of Boston Micromachines. "This marked improvement in retinal imaging will provide doctors the technology necessary to detect the leading diseases of the eye: glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration years earlier than previously possible. Earlier detection will result in earlier diagnosis and earlier treatment."

The new mirror, which is an enhanced version of Boston Micromachines' flagship product the Multi-DM, delivers increased stroke while maintaining the high resolution afforded by its 140 independently controlled actuators. The mirror's 3 kilohertz frequency capability allowsfor high speed real-time imaging with a 6mm aperture perfectly suited for a dilated pupil. In addition, the new Multi-DM also provides the wavefront amplitude correction needed for older eyes by offering 6 microns of stroke. This translates to 12 microns of wavefront correction, the most wavefront correction demonstrated by any MEMS DM on the market today. The development work on this MEMS device was partially funded by the Center for Adaptive Optics, a NSF Science and Technology Center, and by a National Eye Institute Phase I SBIR.

The improved Multi-DM will also enable enhancements in other biological imaging areas. Biological imaging instruments often suffer from resolution limitations, constraining the ability of researchers and clinicians to detect critical detail. This loss in resolution is due to the wavefront aberrations induced by the tissue media through which light passes to reach the object of interest, such as a cell, retina, or tumor. The Multi-DM's ability to actively correct for these aberrations will restore resolution and enable the extracting of vital information from biological specimens.

"The ever increasing strokes in deformable mirrors, such as the 6 microns achieved with BMC's new Multi-DM, will allow for deeper AO corrected imaging in biological specimens, more effective correction when used at longer wavelengths, and improved performance specifications in systems such as the Adaptive Scanning Optical Microscope (ASOM) and other AO based imaging systems," said Ben Potsaid, Research Scientist at the Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS) located at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

"Commercial systems require low cost DMs. Never before has there been a compact, affordable DM available with this magnitude of resolution. Ours is the only technology that meets the criteria of resolution, speed, size, stroke," said Bierden. "This will enable adaptive optics to become a reality for commercial instruments.

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