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Thorlabs Licenses Random Access Multiphoton Microscope Technology

Newton, NJ – November 11, 2016 – Thorlabs announced today that it has entered into a licensing agreement with Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to commercialize the 2-photon random access mesoscope (2p-RAM) developed in Karel Svoboda’s lab at HHMI's Janelia Research Campus for in vivo imaging of large brain volumes (up to 5 mm x 1 mm) with single neuron resolution.

Even for the simplest animal behaviors, there are a large number of neurons operating in concert over multiple areas of the brain. With currently available high-resolution, two-photon microscopes, it is possible to image the activity of individual neurons in awake, behaving mammals but the field of view is small (<1 mm), limiting our understanding of neural activity within multiple regions of the brain. With large-field-of-view microscopes, it is possible to image the entire brain, but individual neurons cannot be resolved, particularly in the axial direction. The ongoing research efforts in the Svoboda lab have been aimed at overcoming the hardware and software challenges that currently limit our understanding of neural circuits through the development of a mesoscale two-photon microscope capable of subcellular resolution over a field of view that spans multiple brain areas.

"I'm thrilled to be part of the commercialization of a technology capable of providing an imaging volume that is approximately 100X larger than what is currently available for microscopes with comparable resolution" said Jeff Brooker, Global Life Science CTO of the Thorlabs Imaging Research Group. "The 2p-RAM is an amazing tool that will facilitate the research endeavors of those working at the forefront of neural imaging in the intact brain." Thorlabs expects to have the 2p-RAM mesoscope available for sale starting in Q1 2017. The microscope will also be incorporated into one of its demonstrations at the upcoming 2016 Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

About HHMI: The Howard Hughes Medical Institute plays an important role in advancing scientific research and education in the United States. Its scientists, located across the country and around the world, have made important discoveries that advance both human health and our fundamental understanding of biology. The Institute also aims to transform science education into a creative, interdisciplinary endeavor that reflects the excitement of real research. HHMI's headquarters are located in Chevy Chase, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.

About Thorlabs: Thorlabs, a vertically integrated photonics products manufacturer, was founded in 1989 to serve the laser and electro-optics research market. As that market has spawned a multitude of technical innovations, Thorlabs has extended its core competencies in an effort to play an ever increasing role serving the Photonics Industry at the research end, as well as the industrial, life science, medical, and defense segments. The organization’s highly integrated and diverse manufacturing assets include semiconductor fabrication of laser diodes, optical amplifiers, lithium niobate modulators, quantum cacscade/interband cascade lasers, and VCSEL lasers; fiber towers for drawing both silica and fluoride glass optical fibers; MBE/MOCVD epitaxial wafer growth reactors; extensive glass and metal fabrication facilities; advanced thin film deposition capabilities; and optomechanical and optoelectronic shops.