Exploiting multimode waveguides for pure fibre-based imaging

T. Cizmar, and K. Dholakia

Nature Communications 3, 1027 (2012)

doi: 10.1038/ncomms2024

There has been an immense drive in modern microscopy towards miniaturization and fibre-based technology. This has been necessitated by the need to access hostile or difficult environments in situ and in vivo. Strategies to date have included the use of specialist fibres and miniaturized scanning systems accompanied by ingenious microfabricated lenses. Here we present a novel approach for this field by utilizing disordered light within a standard multimode optical fibre for lensless microscopy and optical mode conversion. We demonstrate the modalities of bright- and dark-field imaging and scanning fluorescence microscopy at acquisition rates that allow observation of dynamic processes such as Brownian motion of mesoscopic particles. Furthermore, we show how such control can realize a new form of mode converter and generate various types of advanced light fields such as propagation-invariant beams and optical vortices. These may be useful for future fibre-based implementations of super-resolution or light-sheet microscopy.