California Institute of Technology Pasadena United States
We developed the technology that will enable a fast and slim device capable of focusing light at arbitrary points in a volume on the same order of magnitude as a cortical column in the brain. The slim and lightweight characteristics will enable implantation on rodent skulls. The enabling technology is the recent invention of dielectric meta-surfaces, structures thinner than a wavelength that allow for unprecedented control of free-space propagating light. The optical system is composed of two lenses where the focus is scanned by moving the plates with respect to each other like in a telescopic system. The uniqueness of our technology stems from the capability to lithographically place the phase plates in very close proximity tens of microns and to actuate them at high speeds using electrostatic forces like in micro electromechanical devices MEMS. This is a versatile platform that can be applied to various types of microscopy, including two-photon neural microscopy.