A team of researchers at the Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden; Dresden, Germany) has developed a self-calibrating endoscope that produces 3D images of objects smaller than a single cell. Without a lens or any optical, electrical, or mechanical components, the tip of the endoscope measures 200 µm across. As a minimally invasive tool for imaging features inside living tissues, the extremely thin endoscope could enable a variety of research and medical applications.
“The lensless fiber endoscope is approximately the size of a needle, allowing it to have minimally invasive access and high-contrast imaging as well as stimulation with a robust calibration against bending or twisting of the fiber,” explains Juergen W. Czarske, Director and C4-Professor at TU Dresden and lead author on the paper that describes the work. The endoscope is likely to be especially useful for optogenetics, and could prove useful for monitoring cells and tissues during medical procedures as well as for technical inspections.