Ultra High Performance Microscopes

July 30th, 2013 by

Researchers from a university in California have devised a method to convert a conventional microscope into a billion-pixel imaging system that significantly outperforms the best available standard microscope. The researchers used a computational approach to bypass the limitations of the optics. The optical performance of the objective lens is rendered almost irrelevant since they can improve the resolution and correct for aberrations computationally. Indeed, using the new approach, the researchers were able to improve the resolution of a conventional 2X objective lens to the level of a 20X objective lens. The images produced by the new system contain 100 times more information than those produced by conventional microscope platforms. The new system costs only about $200 to implement. One big advantage of this new approach is that the only hardware modification is the addition of an LED array to the existing microscope. Fourier ptychographic microscopy is used to stitch together the low resolution images to form the high resolution intensity and phase information of the sample. What the project has developed is a means of taking low resolution images and managing to tease out both the intensity and the phase of the light field of the target sample.