Research ArticleENGINEERING

A minimally invasive lens-free computational microendoscope

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Science Advances  06 Dec 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 12, eaaw5595
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw5595


Ultra-miniaturized microendoscopes are vital for numerous biomedical applications. Such minimally invasive imagers allow for navigation into hard-to-reach regions and observation of deep brain activity in freely moving animals. Conventional solutions use distal microlenses. However, as lenses become smaller and less invasive, they develop greater aberrations and restricted fields of view. In addition, most of the imagers capable of variable focusing require mechanical actuation of the lens, increasing the distal complexity and weight. Here, we demonstrate a distal lens-free approach to microendoscopy enabled by computational image recovery. Our approach is entirely actuation free and uses a single pseudorandom spatial mask at the distal end of a multicore fiber. Experimentally, this lensless approach increases the space-bandwidth product, i.e., field of view divided by resolution, by threefold over a best-case lens-based system. In addition, the microendoscope demonstrates color resolved imaging and refocusing to 11 distinct depth planes from a single camera frame without any actuated parts.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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