We report the results of characterization of red blood cell (RBC) structure and its dynamics with nanometric sensitivity using transport of intensity equation microscopy (TIEM). Conventional transport of intensity technique requires three intensity images and hence is not suitable for studying real-time dynamics of live biological samples. However, assuming the sample to be homogeneous, phase retrieval using transport of intensity equation has been demonstrated with single defocused measurement with x-rays. We adopt this technique for quantitative phase light microscopy of homogenous cells like RBCs. The main merits of this technique are its simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and ease of implementation on a conventional microscope. The phase information can be easily merged with regular bright-field and fluorescence images to provide multidimensional (three-dimensional spatial and temporal) information without any extra complexity in the setup. The phase measurement from the TIEM has been characterized using polymeric microbeads and the noise stability of the system has been analyzed. We explore the structure and real-time dynamics of RBCs and the subdomain membrane fluctuations using this technique.
Most living cells are optically transparent which makes it difficult to visualize them under bright field microscopy. Use of contrast agents or markers and staining procedures are often followed to observe these cells. However, most of these staining agents are toxic and not applicable for live cell imaging. In the last decade, quantitative phase imaging has become an indispensable tool for morphological characterization of the phase objects without any markers. In this paper, we report noninterferometric quantitative phase imaging of live sperm cells by solving transport of intensity equations with recorded intensity measurements along optical axis on a commercial bright field microscope.
Real-time imaging of live cells is quite difficult without the addition of external contrast agents. Various methods for quantitative phase imaging of living cells have been proposed like digital holographic microscopy and diffraction phase microscopy. In this paper, we report theoretical and experimental results of quantitative phase imaging of live yeast cells with nanometric precision using transport of intensity equations (TIE). We demonstrate nanometric depth sensitivity in imaging live yeast cells using this technique. This technique being noninterferometric, does not need any coherent light sources and images can be captured through a regular bright-field microscope. This real-time imaging technique would deliver the depth or 3-D volume information of cells and is highly promising in real-time digital pathology applications, screening of pathogens and staging of diseases like malaria as it does not need any preprocessing of samples.