Mobile-phones have facilitated the creation of field-portable, cost-effective imaging and sensing technologies that approach laboratory-grade instrument performance. However, the optical imaging interfaces of mobile-phones are not designed for microscopy and produce spatial and spectral distortions in imaging microscopic specimens. Here, we report on the use of deep learning to correct such distortions introduced by mobile-phone-based microscopes, facilitating the production of high-resolution, denoised and colour-corrected images, matching the performance of benchtop microscopes with high-end objective lenses, also extending their limited depth-of-field. After training a convolutional neural network, we successfully imaged various samples, including blood smears, histopathology tissue sections, and parasites, where the recorded images were highly compressed to ease storage and transmission for telemedicine applications. This method is applicable to other low-cost, aberrated imaging systems, and could offer alternatives for costly and bulky microscopes, while also providing a framework for standardization of optical images for clinical and biomedical applications.
The Sparsity of the Gradient (SoG) is a robust autofocusing criterion for holography, where the gradient modulus of the complex refocused hologram is calculated, on which a sparsity metric is applied. Here, we compare two different choices of sparsity metrics used in SoG, specifically, the Gini index (GI) and the Tamura coefficient (TC), for holographic autofocusing on dense/connected or sparse samples. We provide a theoretical analysis predicting that for uniformly distributed image data, TC and GI exhibit similar behavior,
while for naturally sparse images containing few high-valued signal entries and many low-valued noisy background pixels, TC is more sensitive to distribution changes in the signal and more resistive to background noise. These predictions are also confirmed by experimental results using SoG-based holographic autofocusing on dense and connected samples (such as stained breast tissue sections) as well as highly sparse samples (such as isolated Giardia lamblia cysts). Through these experiments, we found that ToG and GoG offer almost identical autofocusing performance on dense and connected samples, whereas for naturally sparse samples, GoG should be calculated on a relatively small region
of interest (ROI) closely surrounding the object, while ToG offers more flexibility in choosing a larger ROI containing more background pixels.
We demonstrate that a deep neural network can significantly improve optical microscopy, enhancing its spatial resolution over a large field-of-view and depth-of-field. After its training, the only input to this network is an image acquired using a regular optical microscope, without any changes to its design. We blindly tested this deep learning approach using various tissue samples that are imaged with low-resolution and wide-field systems, where the network rapidly outputs an image with remarkably better resolution, matching the performance of higher numerical aperture lenses, also significantly surpassing their limited field-of-view and depth-of-field. These results are transformative for various fields that use microscopy tools, including e.g., life sciences, where optical microscopy is considered as one of the most widely used and deployed techniques. Beyond such applications, our presented approach is broadly applicable to other imaging modalities, also spanning different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, and can be used to design computational imagers that get better and better as they continue to image specimen and establish new transformations among different modes of imaging.
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