Aydogan Ozcan & other researchers at UCLA have developed a lens free microscope that can detect the presence of cancer or cellular abnormalities with the same accuracy as larger, more expensive optical microscopes.
The microscope processes these patterns as a series of holograms, providing high-resolution 3-D images of large-area pathology specimens and giving medical personnel a virtual depth-of-field view. An algorithm color codes the reconstructed images, making the contrasts in the samples more apparent than they would be in the holograms and making any abnormalities easier to detect.The device works by using a laser or light-emitting-diode to illuminate a tissue or blood sample that has been placed on a slide and inserted into the device. A sensor array on a microchip — the same type of chip that is used in digital cameras, including cellphone cameras — captures and records the pattern of shadows created by the sample.
The invention could lead to less expensive and more portable technology for performing common examinations of tissue, blood and other biomedical specimens. It may prove especially useful in remote areas and in cases where large numbers of samples need to be examined quickly.