Hackaday Prize Entry: Microscopy With Blu-ray

Confocal microscopy is an imaging technique that provides higher resolution micrographs than that of traditional optical microscopy. Confocal microscopes attain this higher resolution from an image sensor behind a pinhole. By eliminating out of focus light, and by scanning the specimen back and forth under the microscope, a very high resolution image may be produced. This technique has applications ranging from life sciences to semiconductor work. For this year’s Hackaday Prize, [andreas.betz] is building a confocal microscope using little more than a Blu-ray drive read head.

[andreas]’ build uses a standard Playstation 3 Blu-ray drive mechanism. The read head for this mechanism is well documented, but [andreas] still has to drive the laser and the voice coils for this machine to do anything. With the Blu-ray drive working, only the optics remained.

Just this last week, [andreas] imaged the die of a transistor with a resolution of about 680nm. An inductor was also imaged, showing a track separation of about 10um. This is approaching the limits of optical microscopy, and the apparatus is simple enough for anyone to replicate.

As a feat of technical ingenuity, this is a great project. It’s one of the best we’ve seen for the Citizen Science portion of the Hackaday Prize, and can’t wait to see what other images [andreas] can make with this machine.

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5 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: Microscopy With Blu-ray

  1. Just wondering what the red laser spot is in the photo. Andreas has some stiff competition from the guy who built his own Atomic Force Microscope, or was that last year? Amazing stuff that cost millions, with the resources of IBM’s labs, can now be done by some guy in his shed, with bits he ordered off the net.

  2. I’m currently doing something similar with an HD-DVD pickup salvaged from an (external) XBOX-360 drive. Microscropy is more of a side-effect in my case, my goal is to use the 405nm laser to expose photo resist. Andreas, (how) can we get in touch?

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