Navigation Links
Optical microscope without lenses produces high-resolution 3-D images on a chip

UCLA researchers have redefined the concept of a microscope by removing the lens to create a system that is small enough to fit in the palm of a hand but powerful enough to create three-dimensional tomographic images of miniscule samples.

The advance, featured this week in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, represents the first demonstration of lens-free optical tomographic imaging on a chip, a technique capable of producing high-resolution 3-D images of large volumes of microscopic objects.

"This research clearly shows the potential of lens-free computational microscopy," said Aydogan Ozcan, senior author of the research and an associate professor of electrical engineering at UCLA's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. "Wonderful progress has been made in recent years to miniaturize life-sciences tools with microfluidic and lab-on-a-chip technologies, but until now optical microscopy has not kept pace with the miniaturization trend."

An optical imaging system small enough to fit onto an opto-electronic chip provides a variety of benefits. Because of the automation involved in on-chip systems, scientific work could be sped up significantly, which might have a great impact in the fields of cell and developmental biology. In addition, the small size not only has great potential for miniaturizing systems but also leads to cost savings on equipment.

The optical microscope, invented more than 400 years ago, has tended to grow larger and more complex as it has been modified to image ever-smaller objects with better resolution. To address this lack of progress in miniaturization, Ozcan's research group with graduate student Serhan Isikman and postdoctoral scholar Waheb Bishara as lead researchers developed the new tomographic microscopy platform through the next evolution of a lens-free imaging technology the group created and has been improving for years.

Ozcan, a researcher at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA, makes the analogy that a traditional optical microscope is like a huge set of pipes delivering content, in the form of images, to the user. Over years of development, bottlenecks occur that impede further improvement. Even if one part of the system that is, one bottleneck is improved, other bottlenecks keep that improvement from being fully realized. Not so with the lens-free system, according to Ozcan.

"Lens-free imaging removes the pipes altogether by utilizing an entirely new design," he said.

The system takes advantage of the fact that organic structures, such as cells, are partially transparent. So by shining a light on a sample of cells, the shadows created reveal not only the cells' outlines but details about their sub-cellular structures as well.

"These details can be captured and analyzed if the shadow is directed onto a digital sensor array," Isikman said. "The end result of this process is an image taken without using a lens."

Ozcan envisions this lens-free imaging system as one component in a lab-on-a-chip platform. It could potentially fit beneath a microfluidic chip, a tool for the precise control and manipulation of sub-millimeter biological samples and fluids, and the two tools would operate in tandem, with the microfluidic chip depositing and subsequently removing a sample from the lens-free imager in an automated, or high-throughput, process.

The platform's 3-D images are created by rotating the light source to illuminate the samples from multiple angles. These multiple angles also allow the system to utilize tomography, a powerful imaging technique. Through the use of tomography, the system is able to produce 3-D images without sacrificing resolution.

"The field of view of lens-based microscopes is limited because the lens focuses on a narrow area of a sample," Bishara said. "A lens-free microscope has both a much larger field of view and depth of field because the imaging is done by the digital sensor array and is not constrained by a lens."


Contact: Mike Rodewald
University of California - Los Angeles

Related biology news :

1. Tying the knot with computer-generated holograms: Winding optical path moves matter
2. Optical water quality assessment
3. Optical technique reveals unnexpected complexity in mammalian olfactory coding
4. Optical imaging technique for angioplasty
5. Applied physicists create building blocks for a new class of optical circuits
6. Optical Legos: Building nanoshell structures
7. Frost & Sullivan Recognizes MIRTEC With the 2009 Award for Automated Optical Inspection Product Innovation of the Year
8. Strained quantum dots show new optical properties
9. Femtomolar optical tweezers may enable sensitive blood tests
10. Breakthrough optical technology to assess colon cancer risk, accuracy
11. Big size multitouch display turned into a microscope
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/5/2015)... 5, 2015 ) ... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ), a biometric authentication ... --> ) releases the following ... NXTD ), a biometric authentication company focused on the ... Group ( ) releases the following ...
(Date:9/30/2015)... , Sept. 30, 2015  With nearly 300,000 ... number of new SCIs estimated to reach 12,500 annually, ... Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living (SCRS-IL) ... in California opening doors to ... of programs and services, notably assistive technology services and ...
(Date:9/29/2015)... , Sept. 29, 2015 ... employee productivity while also saving energy , Minimized ... as Low Power Active Mode and embedded Fujitsu PalmSecure ... Fujitsu today shows that good things ... and refreshed models to its enterprise desktop and mobile ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... 12, 2015  Rebiotix Inc. today announced that ... its lead Microbiota Restoration Therapy (MRT) RBX2660 as ... Clostridium difficile (C diff) infection, a ... 29,000 deaths in the U.S. annually. 1 ... was founded to revolutionize the treatment of debilitating ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , Oct. 12, 2015  Patara Pharma, a ... and inflammatory diseases and conditions, today announced the ... stock financing. Concurrent with the close of its ... a Loan and Security Agreement with Silicon Valley ... $7 million. Patara will use the funds from ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... October 12, 2015 , ... Dr. Carl Peck, MD, ... the firm as a Premier Expert consultant. NDA Partners Premier Experts are ... value to the company's clients. Premier Experts collaborate to design and implement ...
(Date:10/10/2015)... , le 10 octobre 2015 Le 8 octobre, ... intégré dans le Registre du Congrès sa déclaration ... pour la sensibilisation autour du plasma (IPAW), qui ... sponsorisée par la Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association ... à : , Sensibiliser l,opinion publique ...
Breaking Biology Technology: