Lensless digital holographic microscopy and its applications in biomedicine and environmental monitoring

Yichen Wu, Aydogan Ozcan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


Optical compound microscope has been a major tool in biomedical imaging for centuries. Its performance relies on relatively complicated, bulky and expensive lenses and alignment mechanics. In contrast, the lensless microscope digitally reconstructs microscopic images of specimens without using any lenses, as a result of which it can be made much smaller, lighter and lower-cost. Furthermore, the limited space-bandwidth product of objective lenses in a conventional microscope can be significantly surpassed by a lensless microscope. Such lensless imaging designs have enabled high-resolution and high-throughput imaging of specimens using compact, portable and cost-effective devices to potentially address various point-of-care, global-health and telemedicine related challenges. In this review, we discuss the operation principles and the methods behind lensless digital holographic on-chip microscopy. We also go over various applications that are enabled by cost-effective and compact implementations of lensless microscopy, including some recent work on air quality monitoring, which utilized machine learning for high-throughput and accurate quantification of particulate matter in air. Finally, we conclude with a brief future outlook of this computational imaging technology.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-16
Number of pages13
StatePublished - Aug 31 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The Ozcan Research Group at UCLA acknowledges the support of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the Army Research Office (ARO; W911NF-13-1-0419 and W911NF-13-1-0197), the ARO Life Sciences Division, the National Science Foundation (NSF) CBET Division Biophotonics Program, the NSF Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) Award, the NSF EAGER Award, NSF INSPIRE Award, NSF Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity (PFI:BIC) Program, Office of Naval Research (ONR), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Vodafone Americas Foundation, the Mary Kay Foundation, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, and KAUST. This work is based upon research performed in a laboratory renovated by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0963183, which is an award funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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