Computational On-Chip Imaging of Nanoparticles and Biomolecules using Ultraviolet Light

Significant progress in characterization of nanoparticles and biomolecules was enabled by the development of advanced imaging equipment with extreme spatial-resolution and sensitivity. To perform some of these analyses outside of well-resourced laboratories, it is necessary to create robust and cost-effective alternatives to existing high-end laboratory-bound imaging and sensing equipment. Towards this aim, we have designed a holographic on-chip microscope operating at an ultraviolet illumination wavelength (UV) of 266 nm. The increased forward scattering from nanoscale objects at this short wavelength has enabled us to detect individual sub-30 nm nanoparticles over a large field-of-view of >16 mm2 using an on-chip imaging platform, where the sample is placed at ≤0.5 mm away from the active area of an opto-electronic sensor-array, without any lenses in between. The strong absorption of this UV wavelength by biomolecules including nucleic acids and proteins has further enabled high-contrast imaging of nanoscopic aggregates of biomolecules, e.g., of enzyme Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase, abnormal aggregation of which is linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) - a fatal neurodegenerative disease. This UV-based wide-field computational imaging platform could be valuable for numerous applications in biomedical sciences and environmental monitoring, including disease diagnostics, viral load measurements as well as air- and water-quality assessment.

Daloglu MU, Ray A, Gorocs Z, Xiong M, Malik R, et al. (2017) Computational On-Chip Imaging of Nanoparticles and Biomolecules using Ultraviolet Light. Scientific Reports 7: 44157. Available:

The Ozcan Research Group at UCLA gratefully 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. The Bitan Research Group acknowledges support by RGK Foundation grant 20143057. 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). The authors acknowledge Zachary Scott Ballard and Wei Luo for their help with metal coating for SEM samples and Alborz Feizi for his helpful suggestions in LabVIEW programming.

Springer Nature

Scientific Reports


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