Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Designer lens helps see the big picture

21.11.2019

Microscopes have been at the center of many of the most important advances in biology for many centuries. Now, KAUST researchers have shown how a standard microscope can be adapted to provide even more information.

In its simplest form, microscopy creates an image of an object by measuring the intensity of light passing through it. This requires a sample that scatters and absorbs light in different ways. Many living cells, however, absorb very little visible light, meaning that there is only a small difference between light and dark regions, known as the contrast. This makes it difficult to see the finer detail.


Quantitative phase images reveal more details than classical microscopy images. The KAUST technique captures both bright-field images (top) and phase images (bottom) in a single measurement.

Credit: © 2019 KAUST

But the light passing through the sample changes not only its intensity, but also its phase: the relative timing of the peaks in the optical wave. "Phase-contrast microscopy converts phase into larger amplitude variations and hence allows the viewing of fine, detailed transparent structures," explains KAUST Ph.D. student Congli Wang.

Measuring the phase of light is trickier than measuring its intensity. Most phase-contrast microscopes must include a component that converts the phase change to a measurable intensity change. But this conversion is not precise; it only approximates the phase information.

Wang and his colleagues from the KAUST Visual Computing Center, under the supervision of Wolfgang Heidrich, a professor of computer science, have now developed a new method for quantitative phase and intensity imaging. Crucial to the performance of their microscope was an element known as a wavefront sensor. Wavefront sensors are custom-designed optical sensors that can encode the wavefront, or phase, information into intensity images.

The team designed an innovative high-resolution wavefront sensor, and the team members are now incorporating it into a commercial microscope to improve the performance of microscopy imaging. They then reconstructed the phase-contrast image using a computer algorithm they developed to numerically retrieved quantitative phase from an image pair: a calibration image obtained without the sample and a measurement image obtained with the sample in place.

This approach streamlines several aspects of microscopy. While other methods have achieved quantitative phase imaging in the past, they have required expensive or complicated setups, specialized light sources or a long time to generate the image. "Our method allows snapshot acquisition of high-resolution amplitude bright-field and accurate quantitative phase images via affordable simple optics, common white-light source and fast computations at video rates in real time," says Heidrich. "It is the first time, to our knowledge, that all these advantages are combined into one technique."

Carolyn Unck | EurekAlert!

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht How we transport water in our bodies inspires new water filtration method
17.12.2019 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Novel tactile display using computer-controlled surface adhesion
27.11.2019 | Osaka University

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A new look at 'strange metals'

For years, a new synthesis method has been developed at TU Wien (Vienna) to unlock the secrets of "strange metals". Now a breakthrough has been achieved. The results have been published in "Science".

Superconductors allow electrical current to flow without any resistance - but only below a certain critical temperature. Many materials have to be cooled down...

Im Focus: Programmable nests for cells

KIT researchers develop novel composites of DNA, silica particles, and carbon nanotubes -- Properties can be tailored to various applications

Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed novel programmable materials....

Im Focus: Miniature double glazing: Material developed which is heat-insulating and heat-conducting at the same time

Styrofoam or copper - both materials have very different properties with regard to their ability to conduct heat. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz and the University of Bayreuth have now jointly developed and characterized a novel, extremely thin and transparent material that has different thermal conduction properties depending on the direction. While it can conduct heat extremely well in one direction, it shows good thermal insulation in the other direction.

Thermal insulation and thermal conduction play a crucial role in our everyday lives - from computer processors, where it is important to dissipate heat as...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer IAF establishes an application laboratory for quantum sensors

In order to advance the transfer of research developments from the field of quantum sensor technology into industrial applications, an application laboratory is being established at Fraunhofer IAF. This will enable interested companies and especially regional SMEs and start-ups to evaluate the innovation potential of quantum sensors for their specific requirements. Both the state of Baden-Württemberg and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are supporting the four-year project with one million euros each.

The application laboratory is being set up as part of the Fraunhofer lighthouse project »QMag«, short for quantum magnetometry. In this project, researchers...

Im Focus: How Cells Assemble Their Skeleton

Researchers study the formation of microtubules

Microtubules, filamentous structures within the cell, are required for many important processes, including cell division and intracellular transport. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

„Advanced Battery Power“- Conference, Contributions are welcome!

07.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new look at 'strange metals'

21.01.2020 | Materials Sciences

Body's natural signal carriers can help melanoma spread

21.01.2020 | Health and Medicine

Structual color barcode micromotors for multiplex biosensing

21.01.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>