Polarization is a basic property of light, but the human eye is not sensitive to it. Therefore, we don't have an intuitive understanding of polarization and of optical phenomena that are based on it. They either elude us, like the polarization of the blue sky or the rainbow, or they puzzle us, like the effect of Polaroid sunglasses. Meanwhile, polarized light plays an important role in nature and can be used to manipulate and analyze molecular order in materials, including living cells, tissues, and whole organisms, by observation with the polarized light microscope.
In this seminar, Rudolf Oldenbourg will first illustrate the nature of polarized light and its interaction with aligned materials using hands-on demonstrations. He will then introduce a modern version of the polarized light microscope, the LC-PolScope, created at the MBL. Enhanced by liquid crystal devices, electronic imaging, and digital image processing techniques, the LC-PolScope reveals and measures the orientation of molecules in every resolved specimen point at once. In recent years, his lab expanded the LC-PolScope technique to include the measurement of polarized fluorescence of GFP and other fluorescent molecules, and applied it to record the remarkable choreography of septin proteins during cell division, displayed in yeast to mammalian cells.
Talon Chandler will then discuss extending polarized light techniques to multi-view microscopes, including light sheet and light field microscopes. In contrast to traditional, single-view microscopy, the recording of specimen images along two or more viewing directions allows us to unambiguously measure the three dimensional orientation of molecules and their aggregates. Chandler will discuss ongoing work on optimizing the design and reconstruction algorithms for multi-view polarized light microscopy.
The SCIEN Colloquia are open to the public. The talks are also videotaped and posted the following week on talks.stanford.edu.
There will a reception following the presentation.