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Lensless Microscopy Chip for Diagnostic Applications


Researchers at the University of Connecticut have developed a lensless microscope that allows an observer to enjoy an enormous field of view. Instead of a lens, the system relies on a diffuser that lies between the object being imaged and the camera sensor. This novel technology could greatly help clinicians to assess diagnostic tissue samples by letting them view two entire slides at once.

Conventional
microscopes allow an observer to view a very small portion of a slide at a
time. This makes assessing tissue samples to diagnose disease cumbersome and
time consuming. The field of view for light microscopes is typically only 1-2 millimeters,
whereas tissue samples can frequently be several centimeters across.

To address this, these researchers set out to develop a new microscopy technique that allows for a dramatically increased field of view. It involves illuminating a specimen with a focused beam of light, and then using a diffuser between the specimen and the camera sensor, rather than a lens. While the sensor acquires images, the diffuser moves around the specimen randomly, and the system later reconstructs a final image from the obtained information.

“This
approach cuts down on processing time, cost, and allows for a more complete
image to be produced of the sample,” said Guoan Zheng, a researcher involved in
the study. “Imagine being able to read a whole book at once instead of just a
page at a time. That’s essentially what we hope our technology will allow
clinicians to do.”

The team’s technology boasts a 30 mm2 field of view, permitting clinicians to analyze two full tissue slides simultaneously. Interestingly, using this system, samples do not need to be stained before analysis in order to spot features such as the nucleus. In fact, the researchers have developed the technique so that features such as nuclei can be automatically identified and counted.

“By using
our lensless, turnkey imaging system, we can bypass the physical limitations of
optics and acquire high-resolution quantitative information for on-chip
microscopy,” said Zheng. “We’re excited to continue to refine this technology
for commercial and clinical applications to have a tangible impact for patients
and researchers.”

Study in Lab on a Chip: Wide-field,
high-resolution lensless on-chip microscopy via near-field blind
ptychographic modulation

Via: University
of Connecticut



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