Confocal-Rainbow Volume Holographic Imaging System

Technology #ua11-034

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Paul GelsingeR-Austin
Jose Castro
Research Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Raymond Kostuk
Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Managed By
Amy Phillips
Sr. Licensing Manager (520) 621-9579


A confocal holographic imaging system that uses broadband illumination has been developed at the University of Arizona. The system employs a multi-spectral light source, a volume hologram, a dual pass illumination and an imaging pathway that provides for depth sectioning of an object, coverage of the full field of view of the system, and high resolution both laterally and axially. This dual illumination and imaging design removes the need for mechanical scanning and increases the signal-to-noise ratio of the resultant image. The new “rainbow” VHIS system provides high-quality, low-noise 3D images without the need for mechanical scanning.


High-resolution three-dimensional (3D) optical imaging instruments, such as confocal microscopes and optical coherence tomography systems, are important tools in biological and medical research. During the last decade, volume holographic imaging systems (VHISs) have been developed which use the wavefront selection properties of a volume hologram to select multiple images from respective multiple object depths. These systems have achieved lateral and depth resolution of ~3 µm and ~12 µm respectively, but they have required the use of monochromatic illumination coupled with mechanical scanning to accomplish this. The use of broadband illumination has been explored, but has suffered from a dramatic reduction in the depth sectioning capabilities of VHIS. A method for utilizing broadband illumination with good depth resolution that doesn’t require mechanical scanning is needed to give VHIS instruments a competitive edge of performance compared to other 3D optical imaging systems.


  • Low-noise 3D images without the need of mechanical scanning
  • Broadband illumination
  • Increases the signal-to-noise ratio of the resultant image.
  • Improved resolution over previous broadband VHIS systems
  • Spatial and Spectral information


  • Volume Imaging of diffuse samples
  • Confocal microscope


Raymond K. Kostuk

Jose M. Castro

Johnathan W. Brownlee


Amy Phillips
Licensing Manager, Tech Launch Arizona

Refer to technology # UA11-034 & UA11-076