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Curious Molly - multi-modal nonlinear microscopy system

Curious Molly is multi-modal nonlinear optical microscope that is in the development and tailored for the characterization and fabrication of micro- and nano-structured materials. The multimodal microscopy system is fully interfaced with Gargantua - High Energy Ultrafast Beamline - high energy multi-laser system, which produces ultrashort femtosecond pulse trains that can be tuned from the ultraviolet to the THz range, fulfilling the illumination needs of virtually every linear and nonlinear experiment. Curious Molly will allow full control for sample and beam manipulation at the micro scale, enable conventional fluorescence experiments (single and multi-hoton), time-resolved pump-probe, stimulated Raman scattering (SRS), two-photon absorption (TPA) and time-resolved fluorescence (TRFL) experiments with various detection modes. In addition, the system will be outfitted with modules for the detection of second-harmonic generation (SHG), third-harmonic generation (THG), sum-frequency generation (SFG), and coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS).

3D reconstruction of carbon net grid with two photon fluorescence. Backscattering (epi) - red, forward scattering - green.

Second harmonic generation. Left: lyzosyme crystal (50 um x 50 um image), forward scattering. Right: gM crystaline protein (100 um x 100 um), green - forward scattering, red - backward scattering

The system is currently under development. The current light coupling capabilities are:




Light source. The multimodal spectroscopy system is fully interfaced with Gargantua - High Energy Ultrafast Beamline. The system can deliver high energy laser pulses covering several octave spectral range from 260 nm to 2.7 um, with additional capabilities to go up to 20 um and THz range. A high repetition rate femtosecond beamline in combination with an optical parametric generator will also be available and fully tunable - relevant specifications are given in table.

Pulse shaping. Due to the highly dispersive nature of microscopy optics, we will develop pulse-conditioning units for each beamline. In particular, each beamline include a dispersion pre-compensator, to optimally deliver pulses through the microscope optics for maximum nonlinear signal. The compression SF10 prisms support a broad spectral range. The symmetric geometry of compressors allow for mask being inserted, providing various pulse shaping capabilities.

Time control. Several high precision motorized delay lines for fine control of time delay between the pulse trains. 10 fs resolution with a maximum delay up to 3.2 ns delay between pulses.

Scanners. Galvanometric scanner (Olympus FV1000) is implemented for enabling rapid beam movement. It consists of a resonant scanner and a conventional galvanometer scanner to provide high speed and high definition imaging with up to UHD resolution. It is important to notice, the silver-coated scanner mirrors achieve extremely high reflectance characteristics across a broad wavelength range from visible to infrared. Potentially, the microscope will be equipped with several scanner units allowing independent sample movement and rapid beam movement in the focal plane. The automation of sample scanners in particular will allow rapid sample movement in all three dimensions.

Microscope frame. We use the Olympus IS Upright Microscope frame. The IX81 inverted microscope system sets new standards in advanced live cell imaging with its compact frame, outstanding optical performance and exceptional flexibility. Manual encoded or semi-motorized options enable a variety of component combinations.

Detection. The system equipped with five detection channels:

• Epi-channel with photomultiplier tube (PMT), which features high S/N for capturing weak optical signals.

• Forward-channel with multi-alkali PMT for phase-matched NLO signals in transmission mode.

• Forward-channel with fast camera for wide-field imaging in transmission mode.

• Time-resolved fluorescence beamline detection. The detection works in two regimes: time-correlated single photon counting regime allows measurements over a 13 ns time window with 100 ps resolution, while up-conversion of fluorescence with a gate pulse in nonlinear media allow ultrafast time-resolved fluorescence measurement with ~100 fs resolution.