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Congratulations to Our 2013 Award Recipients!

First Place Recipients

First Place Americas, University of Illinois at Chicago

Americas — $10,000 in Products
University of Illinois at Chicago, USA — submitted by Simon Alford

For developing a novel approach to protein-protein interactions, in live cell imaging, using a combination of total internal reflection microscopy and fluorescence anisotropy that allows the determination of real-time (microsecond) binding rates of proteins within lipid membranes. Alford’s approach, utilizing Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) polarization microscopy, is readily scalable to other protein-protein interactions, allows direct time resolved application of ligand to proteins in a lipid environment, is sensitive to pMol protein quantities, and could be used in live cells with in-vitro assay. Applications include the investigation of serotonin receptors tied to the treatment of depression and protein-protein receptors linked to Parkinson’s disease.

First Place Asia, KAIST

Asia — $10,000 (USD) in Products
KAIST, South Korea — submitted by YongKeun Park

For the development of holography-based imaging techniques designed to study human disease including the investigation of malaria, cancer, and neuro-diseases. Advancements have been made in the development of novel imaging systems exploiting multiple light-scattering, instead of avoiding it. Specifically, through holographic control and measurement, the biomedical optics laboratory in KAIST (South Korea) has demonstrated the direct control of the nearfields using the group’s newly developed scattering super-lens. The scattering super-lens can both focus light into sub-diffraction limited volumes as well as obtain single-shot wide-field super-resolution images. The design presents a new paradigm in nano- and bio-photonics and will open new avenues in the investigation of various diseases where sub-cellular resolution holds the key to the understanding and development of new treatment.

Norman Edmund Inspiration Award
First Place Europe, University of Cambridge

Europe — €7,000 in Products
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom — submitted by Craig Mackay

2013 Norman Edmund Inspiration Award Winner!
Received an additional $5,000 in products

For building a new kind of instrument intended for the largest ground-based optical telescopes. This instrument will deliver much higher angular resolution than any space-based images by combining a 5-10 meter class telescope with an adaptive optics system and Lucky Imaging, to deliver diffraction limited images in the visible, Lucky imaging takes images at high speed with a relatively faint “reference star.” Those images are made sharper by using a new kind of low-order curvature wave front sensor that allows simultaneous imaging of near-pupil images on either side of a pupil to reconstruct the wave front and then drive the deformable mirror to deliver the corrections. Recent test results have already achieved resolution about 3 times better than the Hubble Space Telescope and additional tests are planned for the La Palma (Canary Islands) 4.2m telescope in September, 2013.

Second Place Recipients

Second Place Americas, The Pennsylvania State University - University Park

Americas — $7,500 in Products
The Pennsylvania State University – University Park, USA — submitted by Jennifer Yang

For developing an innovative laser ablation tomography (LAT) and serial imaging system for a high-throughput phenotyping project, in order to provide greater clarity and resolution to anatomical traits for genetic and physiological analysis in plants. These high-throughput imaging techniques evaluate the root structure and function, at micro and macro scales, in order to conduct physiological analyses of water and nutrition of agriculturally important crops in controlled-environments (chambers, greenhouses) at sites across several continents. Yang and her team are analyzing the images with a combination of custom-built applications and 3-D rendering to enhance structure-function understanding of roots in crops such as maize, barley and rice in order to increase plant yields for international agriculture production.

Second Place Asia, Shenzhen University

Asia — 7,500 (USD) in Products
Shenzhen University (深圳大学), China — submitted by Li Heng (李 恒)

For the development of super-resolution fluorescence imaging used in the analysis and nano-positioning of intact cells to achieve dynamic tracking methods. With an emphasis on developing methods of acquiring molecular atlas at nanometer spatial resolution and the realization of dynamic functional nano-imaging for multiple moving molecules in living cells, Heng and his team propose a method of probe-beam induced phonon depletion to break the diffraction limit of coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering microscopy in order to achieve results. They are also investigating a method which combines the advantages of a fast focus-tunable lens and the double helix point spread function methods, to observe the changes of subcell ultra-structures and trace the moving molecules anywhere inside the cell with nanometer precision. Achievements in this project are critical in mapping all molecules in cells and studying those cross-linked and complex biological events in live cells, with nano-resolution, to advance the developments of life science and medical science in the future.

Second Place Europe, Ruhr-Universitat Bochum

Europe — €5,000 in Products
Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany — submitted by Sarah Isabelle Ksouri

For developing new assembling techniques required to fulfill specifications in increasingly complex, and smaller, microsystems. Due to the variety of objects used in modern microtechnology, a new beam forming has been developed for the use of a laser beam which enables stable trapping in the focal point to move and assemble differently shaped particles. Ksouri and her group have developed a flexible beam forming technique combined with software-algorithms in order to form the beam specifically independent of the object geometry to be trapped. The long-term objective of this research project is to realize a full optical assembly method without applying any mechanical forces. Thus this project could be a major step supporting the overall trend to micro- and nanostructures in various industries, especially supported by the development of 3-dimensional structures by using solely optical tools (tweezers), which could be of use to position non-spherical parts.

Third Place Recipients

Third Place America, University of Pittsburgh

Americas — $5,000 in Products
University of Pittsburgh, USA — submitted by Yang Liu

For developing a clinically applicable optical microscopy systems that is simple, cost-effective and high throughput, which integrates seamlessly into the standard pathology laboratory for the analysis of standard cell and tissue biopsies obtained from human patients. Liu’s microscopy system interrogates sub-cellular structural changes in the cells and tissue biopsies at nanoscale accuracy, well beyond what conventional microscopy detects, in order to provide an earlier and more accurate cancer diagnosis and prognosis. The prototype systems have shown the ability to detect the current cancer and predict future cancer in multiple organs, such as breast, colorectal, and esophageal cancers.

Third Place Asia, Indian Institute of Science

Asia — $5,000(USD) in Products
Indian Institute of Science, India — submitted by Shilpa Dilipkumar

For research that is focused on the development of new fluorescence microscopy techniques capable of both temporal and spatial super-resolution such as Multiple Excitation Spot Optical (MESO) microscopy. Additionally, Dilipkumar and her team have developed adaptive Point-Spread-Function (PSF) Engineering techniques for specific optical imaging applications including multi-functionality to fluorescence microscopy imaging (using Bessel-beam) and multi-focal imaging for applications in cell biology. Apart from these optical approaches, computational techniques were developed for noise-free image reconstruction to enable real time imaging. Her team also works on image cytometry applications, using dedicated Microfluidic Chips, and nanoscale tomography.

Third Place Europe, Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata

Europe — €3,000 in Products
Università degli Studi di Roma "Tor Vergata", Italy — submitted by Luca Giovannelli

For developing a Fabry-Pérot Capacitance Stabilized Etalon (CSE), based on a monolithic approach, optimized for a satellite application. Giovannelli and his team have designed and built a study-prototype optical bench test in a laboratory environment as part of the study for the narrow band channel of the ADAHELI mission (ADvanced Astronomy for HELIophysics). ADAHELI is a small-class, low-budget satellite mission; designed to monitor solar flares and to study the dynamics of different layers of the solar atmosphere. The prototype should be able to achieve fast scanning of spectral lines (tens of seconds) with imaging possibilities and high resolving power (105). ADAHELI will carry out observations of the solar photosphere and chromosphere at high-temporal rate and high spatial and spectral resolutions in order to contribute to the understanding of space weather through the study of particle acceleration during flares.

Congratulations to Our Remaining 2013 Grant Finalists!

Americas Finalists

Asia Finalists

Europe Finalists

Norman Edmund

Awarded on October 9, 2013

Norman Edmund Inspiration Award: An additional $5,000 USD in products awarded to the program that best embodies the legacy of Edmund Optics’ founder Norman Edmund.
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