Slit-scanning confocal microendoscope for high-resolution in vivo imaging

Appl Opt. 1999 Dec 1;38(34):7133-44. doi: 10.1364/ao.38.007133.


We discuss the design and construction of a novel imaging system in which a fiber-optic imaging bundle and miniature optical and mechanical components are used to allow confocal fluorescence microscopy in remote locations. The instrumentation has been developed specifically for cellular examination of tissue for optical biopsy. Miniaturization of various components makes the device usable in a clinical setting. The numerical aperture of the beam in the tissue is 0.5, and the field of view is 430 microm. The measured lateral resolution of the system is 3.0 microm. The axial point and the axial planar response functions of the confocal system were measured with a FWHM of 10 and 25 microm, respectively. In vitro and in vivo images obtained with cell cultures, human tissue specimens, and animal models indicate that the performance of the device is adequate for microscopic evaluation of cells.