Pushing Standard Microscopes to a Billion Pixels

High resolution microscopy

The Yang lab’s new microscope setup (left). A raw image taken with a 2X objective lens is shown (top right) along with the reconstructed image produced by the new microscope setup (bottom right).

Researchers at California Institute of Technology have figured a new technique to convert a standard desk microscope into a billion pixel imaging microscope that outperforms its humble beginning by a factor of 100. Microscope users usually have to decide between higher resolution of a small field of view or lower resolution of a large field of view. In a new technique termed Fourier Ptychographic Microsocpy, researchers stitch together a number of variably illuminated, low-resolution intensity images and bypass a conventional microscopes’ limitations. The add-ons cost $200, which include an LED array that illuminates the sample resulting in improving a 2X lens resolution into 20X lens resolution. The information is collected and the stitched on a standard computer where both the intensity and phase of the light are teased out, allowing users to refocus computationally. This highly cost effective microscope can bring high resolution microscopy capabilities to medical diagnostic clinics in developing countries.

Source: Nature

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