Liquid polymeric materials for optical nano-bio sensing

Jacob Garan, Jeffrey E. Melzer, Euan McLeod

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Detecting, counting, and sizing nanoparticles is a key problem in biomedical, environmental, and materials synthesis fields. Here we demonstrate a cost-effective and high-performance approach that uses wide-field microscopy enabled by the combination of inline lensfree holography, pixel super-resolution, and vapor-condensed nano-scale lenses (nanolenses). These nanolenses are composed of liquid polyethylene glycol (PEG) that self-assembles in situ around particles of interest. A nanolens around each particle generates a more substantial phase shift than the native object alone, making it more easily detectible in the imaging system. This latest generation of lensfree holographic microscope incorporates more precise temperature control and utilizes a hermetically sealed chamber allowing for a controlled, repeatable environment for simultaneous hologram measurements and nanolens formation. To further enhance the sensitivity of our system, we have compared the performance of two different pixel super-resolution algorithms: shiftand- add and gradient descent. It was found that the gradient descent approach provides the highest resolution. Detection and localization results for 1 μm, 400 nm, and 100 nm particles are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOptical Components and Materials XIV
EditorsMichel J. F. Digonnet, Shibin Jiang
ISBN (Electronic)9781510606418
StatePublished - 2017
EventOptical Components and Materials XIV - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Jan 30 2017Feb 1 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceOptical Components and Materials XIV
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • Biosensing
  • Computational imaging
  • Digital holography
  • Lensfree imaging
  • Nano-lenses
  • Nanophotonics
  • Quantitative phase
  • Self-assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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