By G.P. Thomas
A recent research study at the University of California in Los Angeles indicates lenseless imaging to be the future direction of high resolution microscopy. There have been significant advances made in the realm of lens-free computation imaging at the University of California over the years.
Of particular interest is the lenseless holographic microscope which supersedes conventional microscopes in terms of flexibility, power and small size. The new collaborative study led by Aydogan Ozcan and colleagues, offers emerging results for this type of on-chip microscopy and highlights the future challenges for this technology and the potential applications.
The researchers have shown that the lenseless on-chip microscope can produce optical images with the highest ever resolution consisting of a 0.9 numerical aperture, which corresponds to a view spanning 20 mm2. The most significant benefit of on-chip lenseless computational imaging is that there will be continuous improvements in the degree of resolution owing to the introduction of new arrays of digital sensors such as CCD and CMOS imagers. The advances in this sensor technology are the result of enhancements brought about by manufacturers of digital cameras and mobile phones. With the two industries producing close to 1 billion new modules of camera every year, the lenseless on-chip imaging technology is set to cash in on this trend. Existing lenseless on-chip microscopy techniques are powerful and can image transparent samples on a chip with 1 billion to 2 billion pixel resolutions. The researchers believe that the industry trends will lead to the development of on-chip lenseless microscopy in which field-of-view of specimen and resolution are not inter-related.