Confocal (fluorescence and optical) microscopy

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Confocal microscopy is a highly powerful tool for both the measurement of the diffusion coefficient of species and the 3-dimensional imaging of samples. The principle relies on the careful filtering of light through a pinhole at the refocussing plane of light emitted from a point in the sample, allowing for accurate sampling at variable depth.

Confocal principle small.jpg

Within the department, the main focus of work utilising the technique is the study of diffusion, principally of polymer species. Studies of diffusion of polymers inside ionic hydrogels and within microchannels are currently underway. Studies involving biopolymers, as both probe species and host, are also planned for the near future.