Measurement of Single Cell Refractive Index, Dry Mass, Volume, and Density Using a Transillumination Microscope

Kevin G. Phillips, Steven Jacques, Owen McCarty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

77 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Phase contrast microscopy has become ubiquitous in the field of biology, particularly in qualitative investigations of cellular morphology. However, the use of quantitative phase retrieval methods and their connection to cellular refractive index and dry mass density remain under utilized. This is due in part to the restriction of phase and cellular mass determination to custom built instruments, involved mathematical analysis, and prohibitive sample perturbations. We introduce tomographic bright field imaging, an accessible optical imaging technique enabling the three dimensional measurement of cellular refractive index and dry mass density using a standard transillumination optical microscope. The validity of the technique is demonstrated on polystyrene spheres. The technique is then applied to the measurement of the refractive index, dry mass, volume, and density of red blood cells. This optical technique enables a simple and robust means to perform quantitative investigations of engineered and biological specimens in three dimensions using standard optical microscopes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number118105
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume109
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 13 2012

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microscopes
refractivity
optical microscopes
cells
dimensional measurement
applications of mathematics
phase contrast
erythrocytes
biology
imaging techniques
retrieval
constrictions
polystyrene
microscopy
perturbation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Measurement of Single Cell Refractive Index, Dry Mass, Volume, and Density Using a Transillumination Microscope. / Phillips, Kevin G.; Jacques, Steven; McCarty, Owen.

In: Physical Review Letters, Vol. 109, No. 11, 118105, 13.09.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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