Leiden Measurement Technology LLC proposes to design and construct the HYMDOL: a high-resolution, compact microscope utilizing a
micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) digital micromirror device (DMD) to enable hyperspectral Raman and/or fluorescence
microimaging with micron to sub-micron resolution (determined by the microscope objective used). HYMDOL will be designed as a rugged, compact instrument, suitable for mission deployments on icy worlds where it could be used for life-detection and mineralogy studies. This technology seeks to replace traditional laser-scanning confocal microscopy as it has the advantage of being able to take traditional full-frame images of a sample using both coherent and incoherent light sources without the need for a second condenser, enabling temporally-resolved imaging and fast, triage imaging capabilities; operates on significantly lower power; and is inherently robust ( DMDs are immune to more than 1500 g shock, 20 g vibration).
The main objectives are to build from the successful Phase I work to (1) optimize the optical and optomechanical design of all subsystems of the microscope; (2) manufacture those designs; (3) integrate all subsystems to create a hyperspectral DMD-based imaging microscope suitable for life-detection missions and other applications.
HYMDOL will have many potential NASA applications, especially as a highly-capable life-detection instrument on icy worlds. With its ability to perform down to sub-micron Raman/fluorescence hyperspectral imaging, HYMDOL will be able to identify materials, especially biomarkers, at a scale relevant to microorganisms and life-detection. HYMDOL could also be used as a mineralogical microscope or even on the space station to study biological processes.
There are many non-NASA applications for HYMDOL, including characterizing graphene/CNT materials and pharmaceuticals; performing forensics studies; studying mineral (micro-)structures and other geologic applications; studying geomicrobiological systems; micro 3D printing; performing medical diagnostics of tissue samples; and working with novel bead-based solid phase suspension arrays.