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A Quantum Leap
in Imaging

How It Works

Double Helix Light Engineering™ delivers 3D nanoscale imaging with superior depth and precision by using interchangeable phase masks that modify to engineer point spread functions (PSFs). For any given project, you can select a mask to optimize your depth range, emission wavelength, SNR, and other factors to meet your requirements. Inherent in every phase mask, depth and precision are a tradeoff. You may opt for more depth, for example, to image larger volumes more quickly. By giving you options, you can achieve the ideal depth-precision balance every time.

picture of SPINDLE family of products

Phase Mask Library: Engineered PSFs

To give you maximum control and flexibility, we offer a library of phase masks, including Double Helix, Single Helix, EDOF, Tetrapod, and multicolor designs.

Double Helix Phase Masks

Developed by Double Helix Optics, these phase masks split the light emitted from a single object into two separate rotating lobes, resembling a double helix. The midpoint of the two lobes corresponds to the lateral position of the emitter, while the angle between the two lobes encodes the emitter’s axial position. This enables high-precision 3D imaging and sensing over an unprecedented depth of field.

Picture of phasemask attachment

Multicolor Phase Mask

Multicolor imaging allows you to contextualize data. Typically this requires sequential imaging, multiple cameras, or segmented dedicated fields of view. But with our multicolor phase mask, you can encode color and 3D position directly into the image. It is now possible to simultaneously yield different PSFs for different wavelengths, enabling simultaneous multicolor tracking or super-resolution imaging in a single optical path.

Tetrapod Phase Masks

Created by Stanford University’s Nobel Prize winner W.E. Moerner, the tetrapod masks have a tunable depth range up to 20 μm. Using the tetrapod masks in conjunction with the double helix masks, scientists have been able to image and reconstruct structures of whole mammalian cells, including mitochondria and the nuclear lamina. They have also used these masks to track molecules on the surface of a living cell.

Extended Depth of Field (EDOF) Phase Masks

Using similar principles developed for the Double Helix phase mask, we have created multiple designs which extend the depth of focus for a given optical system with little minimal impact on lateral resolution. These masks can be used for life science applications including 3D super-resolution imaging, 3D tracking, whole cell imaging, and particle counting. The same designs are ideal for industrial inspection applications to see the highest and lowest features on a your 3D object/target all at once, without refocusing or taking multiple images.

Advance Your Field

Sub-diffraction imaging and particle tracking with advanced 3D information opens a new world of possibilities for biological and biomedical research, drug discovery, material science research and industrial inspection.

Matthew D. Lew*, Steven F. Lee*, Jerod L. Ptacin, Marissa K. Lee, Robert J. Twieg, Lucy Shapiro, and W. E. Moerner (equal contributions), “Three-dimensional super-resolution co-localization of intracellular protein superstructures and the cell surface in live Caulobacter crescentus,” Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. (USA) 108, E1102-E1110 (2011) and 108, 18577-18578 (2011)

Life Science

Double Helix Light Engineering™ is leading to breakthroughs across life sciences—from cancer and immunology to infectious disease and neuroscience. Researchers have already discovered new cellular structures and subcellular interactivity, using the Double Helix Phase Masks and SPINDLE®. 

Scientists studying neurodegenerative diseases were able to see 3D images of stress granule cores—never seen before. Likewise, researchers studying immunology have been able to reconstruct entire T-cells. Imagine what you could discover.

Drug Development

Rather than simply modeling new compounds, it is now possible to see and track how drug compounds really work. Double Helix is breaking new ground in the realm of imaging and single particle tracking (SPT). With the ability to track molecules across a larger depth of field—up to 20 microns—Double Helix can record longer trajectories than ever before. Real-world evidence makes it easier to identify lead compounds and speed drug discovery.

Material Science

3D nano-imaging and particle tracking are also instrumental in material science, whether studying metals, semi-conductors, ceramics, polymers or nanomaterials. Double Helix technology enables you to see material structure, fluidity and other properties.

Precision imaging combined with depth extension gives you new insight into particle dynamics. And with more data, you can better predict the performance of a material in any given application.

Industrial Inspection

Double Helix moves inspection to the nanoscale in 3D. You can now spot minuscule defects and other functional flaws in manufactured products—from microchips to pixels. Inspection with nano-level accuracy can improve quality control, save time, cut costs, increase throughput and track QA.