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Fiber Resolution Targets for Optical Nano and Microscopes (FiRsT)

Alternative title: Fiberkalibreringsmål for optiske nano og mikroskoper

Awarded: NOK 5.0 mill.

Microscopes are the windows to everything small in our world. Microscopes have become an indispensable part of pharmaceutical industry, hospitals, life sciences, material sciences, and even in education. With advancements in microscopy, we can see even smaller, up to tens of nanometres. But the smaller we go, the blurrier the line between what we see and what is true. Hence, we need resolution references to calibrate the fidelity of our curious observations. These are called resolution targets. With the growing demands on microscopy functions, additional features and more specialized resolution targets are needed. It is necessary to have a target that resolves not only resolution but also other key optical features like refractive index (RI) and fluorescence. Fiber Resolution Targets (FiRsT): are first-of-a-kind resolution targets that characterize and calibrate multiple optical nano/microscopes, and the first such tool to support a range of RI. In this project, we develop functional prototypes encompassing different RIs and fluorescence characteristics, by extensive laboratory optimization. We will develop a commercial strategy for the project to ensure the transformative capabilities of FiRsT are brought to the forefront of scientific innovation. We will achieve our objectives by focusing on initial feedback from end users and making iterative refinements for product optimization. Maturation of the product portfolio and demonstration in relevant environments will push the TRL and de-risk the project in preparation for licensing opportunities with established industry. Development of FiRsT until now has focused on demonstrating proof of concept for resolution and RI characterization capabilities and the incorporation of fluorescent properties. There has also been a focus on speaking to industry and end users to determine the priority areas for ongoing development and opportunities in the current market.

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