We present a light sheet confocal microscope (LSCM) capable of high-resolution imaging of cell suspensions in a microfluidic environment. In lieu of conventional pressure-driven flow or mechanical translation of the samples, we have employed a novel method of fluid transport, redox-magnetohydrodynamics (redox-MHD). This method achieves fluid motion by inducing a small current into the suspension in the presence of a magnetic field via electrodes patterned onto a silicon chip. This on-chip transportation requires no moving parts, and is coupled to the remainder of the imaging system. The microscopy system comprises a 450 nm diode 20 mW laser coupled to a single mode fiber and a cylindrical lens that converges the light sheet into the back aperture of a 10x, 0.3 NA objective lens in an epi-illumination configuration. The emission pathway contains a 150 mm tube lens that focuses the light onto the linear sensor at the conjugate image plane. The linear sensor (ELiiXA+ 8k/4k) has three lateral binning modes which enables variable detection aperture widths between 5, 10, or 20 μm, which can be used to vary axial resolution. We have demonstrated redox-MHD-enabled light sheet microscopy in suspension of fluorescent polystyrene beads. This approach has potential as a high-throughput image cytometer with myriad cellular diagnostic applications.
Point-of-care approaches for 3-part leukocyte differentials (granulocyte, monocyte, and lymphocyte), traditionally performed using a hematology analyzer within a panel of tests called a complete blood count (CBC), are essential not only to reduce cost but to provide faster results in low resource areas. Recent developments in lab-on-a-chip devices have shown promise in reducing the size and reagents used, relating to a decrease in overall cost. Furthermore, smartphone diagnostic approaches have shown much promise in the area of point-of-care diagnostics, but the relatively high per-unit cost may limit their utility in some settings. We present here a method to reduce computing cost of a simple epi-fluorescence imaging system using a Raspberry Pi (single-board computer, <$40) to perform a 3-part leukocyte differential comparable to results from a hematology analyzer. This system uses a USB color camera in conjunction with a leukocyte-selective vital dye (acridine orange) in order to determine a leukocyte count and differential from a low volume (<20 microliters) of whole blood obtained via fingerstick. Additionally, the system utilizes a "cloud-based" approach to send image data from the Raspberry Pi to a main server and return results back to the user, exporting the bulk of the computational requirements. Six images were acquired per minute with up to 200 cells per field of view. Preliminary results showed that the differential count varied significantly in monocytes with a 1 minute time difference indicating the importance of time-gating to produce an accurate/consist differential.
Many cases of epithelial cancer originate in basal layers of tissue and are initially undetected by conventional microendoscopy techniques. We present a bench-top, fiber-bundle microendoscope capable of providing high resolution images of surface cell morphology. Additionally, the microendoscope has the capability to interrogate deeper into material by using diffuse reflectance and broadband diffuse reflectance spectroscopy. The purpose of this multimodal technique was to overcome the limitation of microendoscopy techniques that are limited to only visualizing morphology at the tissue or cellular level. Using a custom fiber optic probe, high resolution surface images were acquired using topical proflavine to fluorescently stain non-keratinized epithelia. A 635 nm laser coupled to a 200 μm multimode fiber delivers light to the sample and the diffuse reflectance signal was captured by a 1 mm image guide fiber. Finally, a tungsten-halogen lamp coupled to a 200 μm multimode fiber delivers broadband light to the sample to acquire spectra at source-detector separations of 374, 729, and 1051 μm. To test the instrumentation, a high resolution proflavine-induced fluorescent image of resected healthy mouse colon was acquired. Additionally, five monolayer poly(dimethylsiloxane)-based optical phantoms with varying absorption and scattering properties were created to acquire diffuse reflectance profiles and broadband spectra.
Imaging cells in a microfluidic chamber with an area scan camera is difficult due to motion blur and data loss during frame readout causing discontinuity of data acquisition as cells move at relatively high speeds through the chamber. We have developed a method to continuously acquire high-resolution images of cells in motion through a microfluidics chamber using a high-speed line scan camera. The sensor acquires images in a line-by-line fashion in order to continuously image moving objects without motion blur. The optical setup comprises an epi-illuminated microscope with a 40X oil immersion, 1.4 NA objective and a 150 mm tube lens focused on a microfluidic channel. Samples containing suspended cells fluorescently stained with 0.01% (w/v) proflavine in saline are introduced into the microfluidics chamber via a syringe pump; illumination is provided by a blue LED (455 nm). Images were taken of samples at the focal plane using an ELiiXA+ 8k/4k monochrome line-scan camera at a line rate of up to 40 kHz. The system’s line rate and fluid velocity are tightly controlled to reduce image distortion and are validated using fluorescent microspheres. Image acquisition was controlled via MATLAB’s Image Acquisition toolbox. Data sets comprise discrete images of every detectable cell which may be subsequently mined for morphological statistics and definable features by a custom texture analysis algorithm. This high-throughput screening method, comparable to cell counting by flow cytometry, provided efficient examination including counting, classification, and differentiation of saliva, blood, and cultured human cancer cells.