Ultrasensitive interferometric on-chip microscopy of transparent objects
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ProjectRAIS - Scalable, point-of-care and label free microarray platform for rapid detection of Sepsis (EC-H2020-644956)
Light microscopes can detect objects through several physical processes, such as scattering, absorption, and reflection. In transparent objects, these mechanisms are often too weak, and interference effects are more suitable to observe the tiny refractive index variations that produce phase shifts. We propose an on-chip microscope design that exploits birefringence in an unconventional geometry. It makes use of two sheared and quasi-overlapped illuminating beams experiencing relative phase shifts when going through the object, and a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor image sensor array to record the resulting interference pattern. Unlike conventional microscopes, the beams are unfocused, leading to a very large field of view (20 mm(2)) and detection volume (more than 0.5 cm(3)), at the expense of lateral resolution. The high axial sensitivity (<1 nm) achieved using a novel phase-shifting interferometric operation makes the proposed device ideal for examining transparent substrates and reading microarrays of biomarkers. This is demonstrated by detecting nanometer-thick surface modulations on glass and single and double protein layers.
CitationTerborg, R., Pello, J., Mannelli, I., Juan P. Torres, Pruneri, V. Ultrasensitive interferometric on-chip microscopy of transparent objects. "Science advances", Juny 2016, vol. 2, núm. 6, p. 1-8.