US 11,054,624 B2
Predictive focus tracking apparatus and methods
Ashkan Arianpour, San Diego, CA (US); John Bailey, San Diego, CA (US); Dustin Blair, San Diego, CA (US); Xiangling (Steve) Chen, San Diego, CA (US); Stanley S. Hong, San Diego, CA (US); Simon Prince, San Diego, CA (US); Merek C. Siu, San Diego, CA (US); Chunhong (Allen) Zhou, San Diego, CA (US); and Danilo Condello, San Diego, CA (US)
Assigned to ILLUMINA, INC., San Diego, CA (US)
Filed by Illumina, Inc., San Diego, CA (US)
Filed on Dec. 22, 2017, as Appl. No. 15/852,699.
Claims priority of provisional application 62/442,947, filed on Jan. 5, 2017.
Claims priority of application No. 1704770 (GB), filed on Mar. 24, 2017.
Prior Publication US 2018/0188514 A1, Jul. 5, 2018
Int. Cl. G02B 21/00 (2006.01); G02B 27/16 (2006.01); G02B 7/10 (2021.01); G02B 7/09 (2021.01); G02B 21/24 (2006.01)
CPC G02B 21/002 (2013.01) [G02B 7/09 (2013.01); G02B 7/102 (2013.01); G02B 21/006 (2013.01); G02B 21/245 (2013.01); G02B 27/16 (2013.01)] 31 Claims
OG exemplary drawing
 
1. An imaging system, comprising;
a sample stage comprising a surface to support a sample container, the sample container having a plurality of sample locations;
an optical stage having an objective lens, the optical stage being positionable relative to the sample stage to image samples at the sample locations;
a first light source for illuminating a current sample location of the plurality of sample locations;
a focusing laser for projecting a pair of spots on a next sample location of the plurality of sample locations while the first light source is illuminating the current sample location;
an actuator physically coupled to at least one of the sample stage and the optical stage to move the sample stage relative to the optical stage to focus the optical stage onto a current sample location; and
a drive circuit to determine a focus setting for the next sample location responsive to a differential measurement of the pair of spots by an image sensor and to provide a drive signal to the actuator before the optical stage is positioned to image a sample at the next sample location, wherein at least one parameter of the drive signal is determined using a difference between a focus setting for the current sample location and the determined focus setting for the next sample location.