Parallel Multi-Point Scanning Confocal Imaging

Case ID:

Researchers at The University of Arizona's James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences have designed a confocal microendoscopic multi-point scanning system. This system has approximately the same resolution of a single point scan system while maintaining the high frame rate of the slit-scan system at 30 fps. A prototype has demonstrated that for a 0.430-mm field of view, the in-plane resolution is approximately 3 µm, and the axial resolution is 25 µm. This multi-point scanning system is suitable for fluorescence confocal imaging and can be used for turbid samples. Furthermore, it can accommodate multi-spectral imaging to allow identification of multiple fluorophores and/or the sensing of subtle spectral shifts caused by the tissue microenvironment.


Confocal microendoscopy is an emerging technology that allows imaging of cells in live subjects. The most common methods either employ a coherent fiber optic bundle to relay the image plane of the confocal microscope into the subject’s body or build the scanning mechanism into the tip of a flexible miniaturized confocal imaging device. Slit-scanning and point scanning systems are well known and have critical differences that limit their capabilities. Slit scanning provides high operating speed, but axial resolution is easily degraded compared to point scanning. Point scanning has high resolution, but is slow.


  • Faster frame rate than point scan systems (up to 30 frames/second for multi-point scan vs. 5 frames/second for point scan system)
  • Resolution close in performance to single point scan system
  • Easily compatible with multispectral imaging


  • In situ imaging of live subject tissue
  • Confocal fluorescence and reflectance imaging
  • Multi-photon imaging
  • Multi-spectral imaging

Status: issued U.S. status #8,773,760

Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Richard Weite
Senior Licensing Manager, College of Optical Sciences
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Arthur Gmitro
Andrew Rouse
Anthony Tanbakuchi