/High-resolution lens-free fluorescence imaging based on wavefront shaping

High-resolution lens-free fluorescence imaging based on wavefront shaping

PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Towards compact high resolution fluorescence microscopy.

Fluorescence microscopy is instrumental for studying cells and microorganisms. By enabling the visualization of small cellular structures and biological processes, it forms a cornerstone for the development of novel medical therapies and pharmacological treatments. The microscopes, however, are often bulky and expensive systems that require regular maintenance. Additionally, they need to strike a compromise between device size, the size of the field of view, and resolution. 


The next big push in microscopy with a large societal impact will come from compact, cost-effective, and robust optical systems that will make fluorescence microscopy highly accessible.  


To downsize the microscope, the quintessential part of standard optical microscopes: the lens, needs to be removed. High-resolution lens-free techniques exist when you directly look at coherently scattered light. Here, the resulting interference pattern of coherent light is used to reconstruct the image holographically. However, these solutions don’t work for imaging incoherent light sources, as is the case, e.g., in fluorescence microscopy. Currently, attempts have failed to reach the high-resolution requirement for lens-free fluorescence imaging, especially for imaging samples that cannot be evanescently excited using total internal reflection or integrated waveguides 


This PhD topic aims to solve this by exploiting structured light illumination that can be generated by a chip containing an integrated photonic circuit (PIC). To this end, the student can rely on available expertise in optical lattices and beamformer technology. 


The two main challenges that will be tackled are: 

  • Development of a theoretical framework to model and define the lens-free imaging process, including reconstruction algorithms.  

  • Experimental demonstration of the concept. 


A good candidate has: 

  • A strong mathematical background 

  • Experience with coding (Python, Matlab) 

  • Good notions of wave propagation and interference, photonics, optics, (fluorescence) microscopy, image processing 


Required background: Electrical/Photonics/Optics engineering, Physics, or related


Type of work: 15% literature, 45% theory and modeling, 40% experimental work

Supervisor: Pol Van Dorpe

Co-supervisor: Xavier Rottenberg

Daily advisor: Niels Verellen, Murali Jayapala

The reference code for this position is 2022-086. Mention this reference code on your application form.