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

nachricht Soft skin-like robots you can put in your pocket
21.11.2019 | University of Bristol

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Virus multiplication in 3D

Vaccinia viruses serve as a vaccine against human smallpox and as the basis of new cancer therapies. Two studies now provide fascinating insights into their unusual propagation strategy at the atomic level.

For viruses to multiply, they usually need the support of the cells they infect. In many cases, only in their host’s nucleus can they find the machines,...

Im Focus: Cheers! Maxwell's electromagnetism extended to smaller scales

More than one hundred and fifty years have passed since the publication of James Clerk Maxwell's "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field" (1865). What would our lives be without this publication?

It is difficult to imagine, as this treatise revolutionized our fundamental understanding of electric fields, magnetic fields, and light. The twenty original...

Im Focus: Highly charged ion paves the way towards new physics

In a joint experimental and theoretical work performed at the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, an international team of physicists detected for the first time an orbital crossing in the highly charged ion Pr⁹⁺. Optical spectra were recorded employing an electron beam ion trap and analysed with the aid of atomic structure calculations. A proposed nHz-wide transition has been identified and its energy was determined with high precision. Theory predicts a very high sensitivity to new physics and extremely low susceptibility to external perturbations for this “clock line” making it a unique candidate for proposed precision studies.

Laser spectroscopy of neutral atoms and singly charged ions has reached astonishing precision by merit of a chain of technological advances during the past...

Im Focus: Ultrafast stimulated emission microscopy of single nanocrystals in Science

The ability to investigate the dynamics of single particle at the nano-scale and femtosecond level remained an unfathomed dream for years. It was not until the dawn of the 21st century that nanotechnology and femtoscience gradually merged together and the first ultrafast microscopy of individual quantum dots (QDs) and molecules was accomplished.

Ultrafast microscopy studies entirely rely on detecting nanoparticles or single molecules with luminescence techniques, which require efficient emitters to...

Im Focus: How to induce magnetism in graphene

Graphene, a two-dimensional structure made of carbon, is a material with excellent mechanical, electronic and optical properties. However, it did not seem suitable for magnetic applications. Together with international partners, Empa researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a unique nanographene predicted in the 1970s, which conclusively demonstrates that carbon in very specific forms has magnetic properties that could permit future spintronic applications. The results have just been published in the renowned journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Depending on the shape and orientation of their edges, graphene nanostructures (also known as nanographenes) can have very different properties – for example,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

The Future of Work

03.12.2019 | Event News

First International Conference on Agrophotovoltaics in August 2020

15.11.2019 | Event News

Laser Symposium on Electromobility in Aachen: trends for the mobility revolution

15.11.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supporting structures of wind turbines contribute to wind farm blockage effect

13.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Chinese team makes nanoscopy breakthrough

13.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Tiny quantum sensors watch materials transform under pressure

13.12.2019 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>