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Optical microscope

外国特許コード F120006117
整理番号 S2008-0660
掲載日 2012年1月6日
出願国 アメリカ合衆国
出願番号 99565909
公報番号 20110079712
公報番号 8217346
出願日 平成21年6月3日(2009.6.3)
公報発行日 平成23年4月7日(2011.4.7)
公報発行日 平成24年7月10日(2012.7.10)
国際出願番号 JP2009060190
国際公開番号 WO2009148094
国際出願日 平成21年6月3日(2009.6.3)
国際公開日 平成21年12月10日(2009.12.10)
優先権データ
  • 特願2008-146335 (2008.6.3) JP
  • 2009JP060190 (2009.6.3) WO
発明の名称 (英語) Optical microscope
発明の概要(英語) An optical microscope for optically measuring a sample (30) includes: a fluorescent thin membrane (13) which at least partly contains fluorescent substance and on which the sample (30) is placed; an electron source (11) for generating an electron beam; an electron lens (12) for focusing the electron beam generated by the electron source (11) in such a manner as to excite a minute light source having a wavelength shorter than a visible light wavelength from the fluorescent thin membrane (13) so as to irradiate the fluorescent thin membrane (13) with the electron beam, and further, scanning the focused electron beam; and an optical detector (22) for detecting a measurement light beam which is generated in the minute light source and acts on the sample (30).
従来技術、競合技術の概要(英語) BACKGROUND ART
A living biological sample can be observed by an optical microscope as it is.
Therefore, the optical microscope is used as a very effective tool in elucidating a life phenomenon.
A fluorescent probe having various functions has been developed, and further, cell functions have been elucidated and a single molecule has been observed by utilizing various optical systems such as a phase difference optical system, a confocal optical system, and a full reflection fluorescent observation.
There have been many accomplishments and much expertise for a long period of time in observing a living sample by using light.
One of targets of elucidation of the life phenomenon is expected to clarify not the function of one minimum constituent element such as a cell or a protein but the interaction between plural constituent elements, the mechanism of information transmission, the mechanism of energy transmission, the dynamics of an information molecule inside of a cell.
The function of an organ of a living body depends on the interaction between cells as the minimum constituent elements of the living body.
As a consequence, it is necessary to clarify the interaction between the cells so as to elucidate the detailed mechanism of the organ.
In addition, it is necessary to understand the dynamics of plural living molecules by observation at real time.
In the meantime, a spatial resolution by the optical microscope is restricted by properties of an optical wave, and therefore, the resolution can be achieved in only the order of submicron.
As a consequence, it is necessary to develop an optical microscope having a higher spatial resolution so as to elucidate the interaction between plural molecules or minute organs and an information transmission mechanism.
A near-field microscope has been known as a microscope for optically observing a minute region in excess of an optical diffraction limit.
FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating the principle of a near-field microscope.
As illustrated in FIG. 1, a laser beam is incident into a tip of a probe shielded with metal.
An aperture is formed at the tip of the probe in several nm to several tens nm.
The aperture is very smaller than an optical wavelength, and therefore, the laser beam incident into the tip of the probe cannot pass through the aperture.
However, a part of the laser beam evanesces from the aperture by a so-called near-field effect (i.e., an evanescent wave).
The interaction between a near-field light beam evanescing from the tip of the probe and an object to be measured is observed.
The use of the near-field microscope achieves the observation of the minute region smaller than the optical wavelength.
However, the tip of the probe need be observed in the proximity of the object to be measured by the near-field microscope.
Hence, the object to be measured is observed while it is scanned by the probe, as illustrated in FIG. 2, thereby taking much time in observing a two-dimensional image.
Although the observation at real time is needed for observing the dynamics of a living body, the near-field microscope in the prior art cannot achieve the observation at real time.
Japanese Patent Application Laid-open (JP-A) No. 2003-524779 and JP-A No. 2006-308475 are listed as prior art literature relating to the invention.
JP-A) No. 2003-524779 discloses a near-field microscope using a near-field light beam, in which a near field is produced with the irradiation of light beams through plural pores at nano scale.
Moreover, JP-A) No. 2003-524779 suggests excitation of a light beam with an electron beam.
JP-A No. 2006-308475 discloses a near-field microscope for irradiating a living sample with a light beam, converting a generated near-field light beam into an electron beam by an optoelectronic conversion membrane, and detecting the electron beam.

特許請求の範囲(英語) [claim1]
1. An optical microscope that optically measures an object to be measured, the optical microscope comprising: a fluorescent member that comprises a fluorescent substance in at least a portion thereof and on which the object to be measured is placed;
an electron beam generating component that generates an electron beam;
an electron beam controlling component that focuses the electron beam generated by the electron beam generating component, such that the fluorescent member is irradiated by the electron beam and a minute light source having a wavelength shorter than a visible light wavelength is excited from the fluorescent member, and that makes the focused electron beam scan; and
an optical detecting component that detects a measurement light beam that is generated at the minute light source and acts on the object to be measured.
[claim2]
2. The optical microscope of claim 1 further comprising a vacuum container having a vacuum unit that houses the electron beam generating component and the electron beam controlling component therein, wherein: the fluorescent member is disposed at a portion of a through hole formed on a partition wall of the vacuum container, so as to serve as a part of the partition wall; and
the minute light source is excited by the electron beam, which passes through the through hole.
[claim3]
3. The optical microscope of claim 1, comprising a plurality of the through holes.
[claim4]
4. An optical microscope for optically measuring an object to be measured, the optical microscope comprising: a fluorescent member that comprises a fluorescent substance in at least a portion thereof and on which the object to be measured is placed;
an electron beam generating component that generates an electron beam;
an electron beam controlling component that controls the electron beam generated by the electron beam generating component, such that the fluorescent member is irradiated by the electron beam and a minute light source having a size smaller than a visible light wavelength is excited in the fluorescent member; and
an optical detecting component that detects a measurement light beam that is generated at the minute light source and acts on the object to be measured.
  • 発明者/出願人(英語)
  • KAWATA YOSHIMASA
  • MIYAKAWA ATSUO
  • SHIZUOKA UNIVERSITY
国際特許分類(IPC)
米国特許分類/主・副
  • 250/306
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