Scientific reports 2017 03 097() 44157 doi 10.1038/srep44157
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 mm(2) 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.