Next-generation optical microscope condensers
The development of traditional optical condensers revolutionized optical microscopy by providing a mechanism that can easily double a traditional microscope’s resolution. Traditionally, the optical condensers consist of a combination of bulky lenses (or mirrors) and diaphragms designed to illuminate the sample with a cone of inclined light. While advances in technology have increased the complexity and imaging abilities of optical condensers and their components, modern condensers are still built following the same recipe. Recently, we have developed new types of optical condensers based the capture of the leakage radiation of evanescent waves on the imaging substrate. These new condensers prove to be more cost effective, easier to make, are orders of magnitude smaller than their traditional counterparts, and have successfully demonstrated resolution enhancements comparable to the traditional bulky condensers. Although fabrication developments and theoretical considerations are still being established, these next -generation optical microscope condensers show a lot of promise in semiconductor and biological applications. This dissertation will present the theory, design, implementation, and measured imaging capabilities of the newly developed optical microscope condensers.