New microscope costs less, shows promise for university researchers
A startup company launched by a WSU professor has received a $740,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to continue research and eventually commercialize a new, less expensive and easy-to-use microscope.
Matthew McCluskey, a professor in the department of physics and astronomy, filed for a provisional patent five years ago for his design.
His company, Klar Scientific, designed and manufactures a spectroscopic confocal optical profile (COP) microscope, which collects more information about materials in less time and at a lower cost than what is currently on the market, McCluskey said.
He and co-founder Rick Lytel, an adjunct professor of physics, launched Klar Scientific after having difficulties gathering data with a standard confocal microscope. Certain types of confocal microscopes use fluorescence to find impurities or defects in a sample.
“Fluorescence occurs when you shine a laser on a sample and some molecules emit a different color of light,” McCluskey said. “It is similar to if you attended a blacklight party. The UV from the blacklight may make molecules in paint glow green or red.”
By comparison, McCluskey’s design is better at detecting small defects and uneven textures.