Portable microscope detects the bacteria using holograms

Portable microscope detects the bacteria using holograms
An inexpensive holographic microscope capable of detecting E. coli and other bacteria has been developed by researchers in the U.S..

The handheld device uses a laser instead of lenses to identify errors in the water, food or blood, and costs less than $ 100 (£ 60) to build.

The images can be uploaded to remote computers for analysis.

Scientists hope the technology will improve healthcare in areas lacking sophisticated diagnostic equipment.

Details of the microscope - created at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) - were published in the journal Biomedical Optics Express.
3D Micro

The device has two modes: a "transmission" mode which can analyze fluids such as blood and water, and a "reflection" mode which produces holographic images of denser surface.

"The mode of transmission is ideal for optically transparent see things like cells or thin slices," said Dr. Karl Ryder Advanced Microscopy Center at the University of Leicester.

"However, if you want to see more solid surfaces, you can not use the mode of transmission, because the light does not pass."

In reflection mode, the microscope used holography to create a 3D image of the sample under study.

"You take a laser and split the beam into two with a mirror. Then use one of these rays to illuminate the sample," said Dr. Ryder.

"You can then recombine these two beams intelligent use of mathematics to create a 3D image of the object."
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Doctors may use devices like these to improve health care in remote areas of the world "
Professor Aydogan Ozcan
Cheap Chips

A key advantage of the design is that cheap electronic components is used instead of heavy and expensive lenses.

"There is everything in this optical system. They have really small, and are looking to small sample sizes, so no need to focus complex," said Dr. Ryder.

Instead, the microscope uses digital photo sensors are commonly found on devices like iPhones and Blackberrys. These can cost less than $ 15 each to produce.

Despite its price, the researchers say that the microscope can help monitor outbreaks difficult to detect bacteria such as E. coli.

"It's very difficult to detect E. coli in low concentrations in water and food. This microscope can be part of a solution for field research," said UCLA professor Aydogan Ozcan.

The device captures raw data, but its simple design means that processing must be done in an external device with more computing power.

A user in the field can send image data to your mobile phone, a laptop, or even upload it to an Internet server.

The professor believes that the microscope could be very valuable Ozcan for doctors working in developing countries.

"With only a small amount of training, doctors may use devices like these to improve health in remote areas of the world, with little access to diagnostic tools.
Portable microscope detects the bacteria using holograms

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