The microscope that reveals the chemical composition of samples

Research conducted by researchers from CNR-IFN, PoliMi, Columbia and Stanford published in Optica

An international research team co-ordinated by the Institute for Photonics and Nanotechnologies of the National Research Council in Milan (CNR-IFN) and involving researchers from Politecnico di Milano’s Department of Physics, Columbia University and Stanford University, has developed an innovative optical microscope capable of producing detailed images of the chemical composition of a sample more effectively compared to the systems currently in use. The result has been published in the journal Optica.

This instrument represents a major breakthrough in the field of microscopy and spectroscopy, opening up new perspectives for research in the materials and life sciences. Indeed, it will be able to contribute to the study of innovative two-dimensional materials and to the characterisation of microplastics found in the environment and within animal tissues.

The benefits of the microscope stem from the unprecedented combination of two techniques, Raman spectroscopy and Fourier transform spectroscopy. The developed method allows Raman and fluorescence maps to be acquired in up to 100 times less time than with traditional instruments and to measure all sample points at the same time and with high efficiency, acquiring more data simultaneously.