Deep-Brain Stimulation Using Optogenetics Has Potential to be Non-Invasive With New Study

The human brain is a complex organ that has challenged scientists for centuries. They often struggle to find suitable treatments for an array of maladies. But over the years, there has been progress: unique items such as fiber-optic probes have become options for those with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, or serious injuries. However, to date, most therapy is highly invasive and often comes with side-effects to the patient that can be on par with the actual disease itself. What can something like photometric standards and optogenetics do to help in this arena?

According to researchers in a recent groundbreaking study out of Japan, light technology can indeed help quite a bit. Using blue light with carefully manipulated wavelengths, the team showed they can modify nerve cells in a completely non-invasive fashion. In doing so, researchers could activate or disable the cells on command with the power of blue light.

The applications of such a technology in medicine could potentially be widespread, but the application of it is very complex and guided by strict photometric standards. So far, researchers from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have only tested this use of optogenetics with mice. Challenges include blue light penetration levels, which are addressed with nanoparticles that can convert low-energy infrared light. There is also an issue with heat creation based on energy production within the brain, though that issue is minor.

But through all the possible issues is the potential benefit: non-invasive brain therapy that could precisely modify cells at precisely the right moments. All with the help of optogenetically modified blue-light. Research with mice showed that inhibited cells could stop seizures; perhaps one day light-stimulated nerve cells could help to activate parts of the brain dormant in injured patients.

Remote and non-invasive light therapies may very well be the future of certain medicines. Research teams like those from RIKEN are just beginning to crack the code as to exactly what wavelengths of carefully modified light can do when expertly directed. Photometric standards have a clear role to play in making certain the metaphorical blades that researchers use will always be sharpened to the appropriate degree.

Product Spotlight: MANTIS Imaging Colorimeter

Colorimeters and photometers can sound like exotic instruments used only for a select group of applications. But in fact, the uses of colorimeters or photometers, and the variety of industries they are employed in, is tremendously diverse.


Photometers are routinely combined with colorimeters, and the result (when done correctly) is an object that can measure an array of sources. The detection of light, to the exact proton, can be deployed in everything from aviation technology (cockpits, lighting displays, exterior identification signals, etc) to roadway lighting and sign reflection.

The state-of-the-art MANTIS Imaging Colorimeter/Photometer system from Gooch & Housego. Compact and rugged, the Mantis weighs a mere 1.8 pounds but can power your laboratory into another level of light and color classification.

This elite instrument does not require years of experience to operate: usability was factored in to its design, and can be seen most clearly by the user in such functions as the direct pass/fail display. MANTIS is also compatible with the most current Windows operating systems.

Features of the Mantis include:

  • Full field luminance and color measurements of lighting and displays for high-speed production
  • Tristimulus color coordinates (XYZ and x,y, Y)
  • High-speed GigE interface
  • Rugged enclosure and compact footprint

So we’ve come a long way with photometrics, and the expansion of needs for this precise light measurement technology looks to only grow. Our calibration standards are up to the task. For more information on MANTIS, always feel free to contact the Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego at 407-422-3171.

Simplistic but Powerful: LED Lights and Their Influence on Climate Change

Climate change is, to put it mildly and without conceit, a hot topic. In both public and private industry, concerns about the changes wrought by a disrupted climate often must be factored in when making any future projection: from construction to agriculture, military concerns to the environment we still hope to preserve. But although climate change spreads its metaphorical tentacles across a wide swath of industrial concerns, how could photometric standards factor in?

The answer is simple, and it also elevates one concept in a range of solutions put forth to curb the accumulation of carbon in our atmosphere. LEDs, a benchmark in photometric standards and a place where growth is always possible, have proven to be incredibly useful at cutting carbon emissions. And though lights might not seem like the place to start with climate change, perhaps they deserve a closer look.

LEDs help in an indirect fashion by simply using less power (on a tremendous scale) to light the world around us, and they reduce the amount of coal and oil needed to create said power. We’ve known this basic concept for a while now, but new research from the firm IHS Markit puts it into more bold terms.

According to their calculations, LEDs were responsible for a half-billion ton reduction in carbon deposits in the atmosphere in 2017. And they have the added benefit of cutting carbon use without the always tricky part of imprinting lifestyle changes among world populations. Most people are not even aware that an LED light is powering a lamp, or a stoplight, or a storefront, as opposed to a much less efficient fluorescent or incandescent bulb.

LEDs are currently scaled out pretty well in most public and private places. But the saturation point is very far from being met, and the new innovative uses for LEDs (based on research enabled by photometric standards), moves those goalposts even further. Not only that, but as the developing world creates first generation grids, LEDs can be used as the base power process as opposed to a replacement. LEDs look to just be one tool in the box when it comes to reducing carbon in our climate long-term; it seems however that this will be quite a powerful tool. This technology will make the world more efficient, and less reliant on traditional energy sources, one simple light cell at a time.

New Method Using LEDs for Digital Image Capture

We live in a world where almost all phones come with a video camera of immense capability. However, not all events were designed to be filmed. The reasons for bans on digital cameras are multi-fold (privacy, proprietary information, dilution of experience, etc.), but are often difficult to enforce. Cell phones are ubiquitous and generally the size of your palm; not items easily confiscated when photography is banned.

Teams at the University of California San Diego and the University of Wisconsin Madison have a system called LiShield that may be the next generation in photography thwarting.

An ingenious use of LEDs, the device flickers in a fashion that confuses the digital light sensors in cell-phone cameras, rendering taken photographs choppy and useless. The LEDs within the system flicker at such a speed that they are not visible to the human eye, but they provide enough frequency distortion to accomplish their job.

Even more impressive is that it allows for those authorized photographers to work even as it thwarts those who do not. By synchronizing the digital cameras light source to that of the LED, photographs are no longer broken up. Think of it as a camera key using LED tech. Researchers included many different frequencies that alternate in a somewhat random fashion, making the keys very difficult to uncover for those without access. However, the full future of using frequency-based LED technology is unknown, as applications could be tremendously diverse.

The Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. We are dedicated to helping you and your organization by providing products that have been tested against traceable photometric standards. If you want to learn more, contact us today at 407-422-3171.

How AR Glasses Are Helping Surgeons Remove Tumors

The medical field is often one of the first fields to benefit from a jump in technology. This makes sense, as we are always pushing for an edge in the most critical realms of life-saving techniques and innovative medicine. One piece of technology that did not seem to have much use in the hospitals augmented reality (AR), has proven to be groundbreaking.

Medical usage of AR has been predicted in technology communities for some time, but only recently have researchers poured time and resources into creating equipment that goes beyond proof of concept. One such device is emerging from Germany. Scientists at Fraunhofer IGD (Institute for Computer Graphics) have developed something called the 3D-ARILE, equipment that has AR at the heart of its infrastructure.

Although the science of tumors and skin cancer has come a long way, there are still many gaps in our predictive knowledge. Even in a surgical setting, doctors are faced with challenges when determining if a tumor has been completely removed. This is where the 3D-ARILE will lend a helping hand. By using sophisticated glasses with AR in the lens, surgeons can look at body parts with virtual markers guiding the way. AR capabilities highlight sites that are malignant with green neon, and can precisely guide surgeons to specific areas.

While this may seem somewhat simple from a technical standpoint (in an age where everyday cell phones have some amazing AR capabilities), it is most certainly not. Teams from three separate German laboratories combined efforts to perfect the 3D-ARILE’s abilities.

This medical technology relies on navigation software, stereoscopes, infrared camera systems in coordination, and indocyanine green fluorescent dye in order to make the 3D-ARILE complex possible. And lives are on the line when it is used which means the margin for error is zero. Even the dye is a medical breakthrough; before this, radioactive materials (such as technetium-99m) were often used to highlight malignant tumors.

The future seems wide open, and the medical community is relying on the capability of optical researchers to lead the way.

The Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. We are dedicated to helping you and your organization by providing products that have been tested against traceable calibration standards. If you want to learn more, contact us today at 407-422-3171.

Product Spotlight: OL 458-4

When dealing with elite technology, like integrated spheres, there’s no reason to look beyond the top-of-the-line products offered by our team at Gooch & Housego. The OL 458-4 white LED-based integrated sphere may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Our finest materials went into a product capable of consistent stable temperatures and continuous spectrum use across the visible array. Not only that, but the OL 458-4 is a flexible unit, and we have the capability to alter the design and facility depending on the job needed.

Its cutting-edge nature can be viewed from many angles. But raw numbers often do it justice:

  • Sphere coating >98%
  • Uniformity ±0.1%
  • Calibration luminance: 380 to 780 nm (not covering the OL 458-4 U)
  • Color temperature: 5030 K

Size and usability come in to play as well, with the OL 458-4 weighing in at a diminutive three pounds. It’s a power unit and an optics head, meaning users can activate both remotely and align precisely. Proprietary Optolon 2 material coats the sphere, which creates a next-level diffuse reflection.

Useful in either a static laboratory or field work, the sphere was designed to be tough and durable (unlike many exacting but fragile testing modules). Additional features include a USB connection, LED-based source, an internal feature to track usage, consistent currents via a 48 volts DC, and built-in application software.

The Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. We are dedicated to helping you and your organization by providing products that have been tested against traceable calibration standards. If you want to learn more, contact us today at 407-422-3171.

Harvard’s Next Big Step in Optics & Virtual Reality

As the concepts of virtual reality (VR) become more ingrained in the technology of day-to-day life, capability improvement of these systems must keep up. With expectations high, VR has to deliver or risk being seen as an over-hyped initiative. The early indications are promising: VR is being integrated into everything from cars to sunglasses, touchscreens to video games.

With that in mind, encouraging and impressive news emerged out of a lab in Harvard toward the end of 2017. Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) announced the creation of a metalens: in essence, a single lens that can focus the entire spectrum of light in one beam.

In the past, a lens was stacked to achieve this distribution of the light spectrum. This led to bulky lens configurations that made placing VR in thin consumer products (like phones and headsets) very difficult. Metalens technology has the potential to change this.

As Federico Capasso, a senior fellow and researcher at SEAS put it, “Metalenses are thin, easy to fabricate, and cost-effective. This breakthrough extends those advantages across the whole visible range of light. This is the next big step.”

Optics are very difficult to make in miniature, particularly in products designed for the consumer market. Beyond the physics involved in a reduction of size, lenses must remain well-defined and energy efficient (not to mention durable). Researchers used a design of paired titanium dioxide nanofibers to overcome some of the difficulties faced in the past.

Papers and articles in both Nature and the Daily Mail suggest the team at Harvard has the ambition to continue evolving the metalens concept. A widely reported goal is to create a lens at 1 cm, and given the quick progress the SEAS team has shown so far, it’s difficult to doubt them.

The Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. We are dedicated to helping you and your organization by providing products that have been tested against traceable photometric standards. If you want to learn more, contact us today at 407-422-3171.

How LEDs Can Help Cyclists

It can seem difficult to keep up with all the new and useful ways LEDs are being deployed in our modern world. One use of LEDs that consistently seems to find its way into the news is in the realm of traffic safety. From interesting crosswalks and innovative light patterns for pedestrians, to LED concepts that are being worked into smarter and safer cars, the roads are abloom in LED-based technology.

One arena that may be overlooked here are those ubiquitous cyclists. Of course, a main piece of gear for any cyclists is the helmet. But over the years, precious little design modifications have occurred in these common units. A company called Coros is looking to change that with a unique cycling helmet that incorporates LEDs.

Called OMNI, the helmet uses a special battery pack and extremely light-weight LED strips that create light patterns along the side and back. The prototype is scheduled to go into production early this year if demand exists.

The safety benefit of wearing a helmet with embedded LED seems to come from two places. One, of course, is the quality of light production, allowing motorists to spot cyclists much more easily. But bikes already have an assortment of lights. Sowhat may, in fact, be key to the OMNI LED system is the distinctive look. The whole idea of LED safety lights, after all, is to stand out.

And the OMNI actually has more than just LEDs packed into it: bone conduction transducer speakers built-in, wind-resistant microphones, Bluetooth and emergency GPS, USB ports and an 8-hour rechargeable battery.

The sleek setup of the side- and rear-mounted LED panels that seem to get the most interest out of some cycling enthusiasts. For LED enthusiasts, there still seems to be a lightly tapped market for LEDs integrated into the things we wear. As battery systems that power LEDs become lighter and more versatile, and as LEDs continue to use less power with each generation, there may be an upwards direction in the possibilities for how we can deploy them in the everyday things we wear.


The Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. We are dedicated to helping you and your organization by providing products that have been tested against traceable photometric standards. If you want to learn more, contact us today at 407-422-3171.

This Innovative Microscope is Changing the Way We Study Optogenetics

For many modern scientists, the study of the brain is one of the greatest challenges left to medicine in the 21st Century. The amount we don’t know is simply stunning, and the pathways to gaining that knowledge aren’t clear. To be fair, there are optimists and pessimists in the world of optogenetics, and some feel that advances in light technology can truly open the secrets of the brain.

Dubbed Firefly, a new microscope with a 6-millimeter-diameter lens area is being hailed as an innovative groundbreaker in the world of imaging. This device is so powerful that it can watch individual neurons fire, a technique not available in commercial microscopes of the past. The team at Harvard accomplished this by using patterns of light to stimulate cells and then capture that reaction using the Firefly lens.

Over time, and in the hands of a capable laboratory, the brain patterns that Firefly can view could lead us to a better understanding of how diseases like Alzheimer’s or epilepsy progress and act.

To focus light so exactly on neural systems, the researchers had to overcome several obstacles that have proved overly burdensome in the past. One was simply light energy: to create a large useful image of a neural system required a high-powered pulse of light difficult to replicate, and fraught with technical issues.

As Adam Cohen, a lead researcher on the project at Harvard, described the solution to this energy problem: “A great deal of engineering went into developing optics that cannot only image a large area but do so with very high light collection efficiency.”

Another issue was the optical capabilities necessary to actually capture the image. It goes somewhat without saying, but if we could have created light-imaging microscopes of immense ability years ago, we would have done so. The accomplishment of Cohen and his team at Harvard were on full display as they visually measured 85 neurons in 30 seconds during a recent demonstration.


The Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. We are dedicated to helping you and your organization by providing products that have been tested against traceable photometric standards. If you want to learn more, contact us today at 407-422-3171.

New Study Shows UV Light Can Speed Up Medical Lab Tests

In medicine, speed is power. Numerous studies over the years have shown that the earlier diseases are detected, the higher the odds of recovery. Although this is generally related to early screenings and the like, speeding up the time that medical lab tests take could provide a secondary edge in the battle against many illnesses. A new study out of the University of California – Davis, is showing a unique way to do just that.

Ultraviolet light in medical imaging was deployed during this study in a system called MUSE (microscopy with ultraviolet surface excitation). In layman’s terms, current medical lab work is done by slicing thin sheets of tissue on to glass slides, a process that can take many hours and is painstaking. MUSE suggests an alternative to this work: by focusing UV light at wavelengths below 300 nanometers, high-quality images can be created off of unprepared tissue samples.

This should all make testing dramatically quicker, and the UV light used is generated from LED sources. Researchers suggest that by using the MUSE method, results could become available in mere minutes, as opposed to hours or longer. Tissue samples could be tested outside of a laboratory setting since the careful creation of slides would no longer be necessary.

The team at UC Davis sees a future in this technique that goes beyond microscopy: agriculture, biology, and toxicology are just a few of the many fields mentioned that could use a boost from this groundbreaking image concept. Beyond speed, MUSE has one other big advantage going for it, and that’s cost. LEDs and the UVs they create can be obtained cheaply, and without the need for medical slide samples, the process becomes amazingly efficient.

The work published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering is promising. However, as the process for refining UV light based on LEDs becomes more consistent, researchers must remain mindful of original standards. To do this, they’ll need the right equipment; the very type built in the laboratories of Gooch and Housego.

The Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. We are dedicated to helping you and your organization by providing products that have been tested against traceable calibration standards. If you want to learn more, contact us today at 407-422-3171.