Leiden Measurement Technolgoy, LLC (LMT) proposes to design and construct the Flat-field Automated UltraViolet Exploration (FAUVE) microscope, a high-resolution, compact, fully-automated epifluorescence microscope operating through the DUV-VIS with sub-micron, high-NA, and a flat field throughout the DUV-VIS. The core of FAUVE is a novel DUV-VIS objective, capable of producing sharp images at high magnification with very little chromatic aberration using only materials that are radiation-hard (exceeding 300 krad). Additionally, FAUVE will feature a new microfluidic cartridge platform which will enable the rapid mounting of samples for microscopic viewing. An automated microfluidic subsystem will autonomously filter samples into the disposable cartridges and treat them with user-defined reagents which could include structural stains/dyes or even functionalized suspension array particles. An entirely custom, miniaturized microscope system will be developed and occupy volume of less than 2,000 cc, while still enabling sub-micron imaging throughout the DUV-VIS in up to five different excitation wavelengths.
The rugged, miniaturized design of FAUVE will make it suitable for mission deployments on Ocean Worlds where it will enable improved life-detection and mineralogy studies. It could also be deployed on rocky bodies to study regolith or soil samples or even used in conjunction with functionalized microspheres for chemical sensing. FAUVE builds on ongoing NASA-funded projects to develop DUV microscopes and its core technologies can easily be implemented into those instruments to augment their performance.
FAUVE has many non-government applications. DUV-VIS fluorescence and transmission microscopy is a very useful tool for life science and medical research, particularly in the fields of histology and cell biology. It will also be highly useful for chemical-quantification of liquid samples by using functionalized spectrally-encoded microspheres in a suspension array and for surface inspections.