Unconventional methods of imaging: Computational microscopy and compact implementations

Euan McLeod, Aydogan Ozcan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


In the past two decades or so, there has been a renaissance of optical microscopy research and development. Much work has been done in an effort to improve the resolution and sensitivity of microscopes, while at the same time to introduce new imaging modalities, and make existing imaging systems more efficient and more accessible. In this review, we look at two particular aspects of this renaissance: computational imaging techniques and compact imaging platforms. In many cases, these aspects go hand-in-hand because the use of computational techniques can simplify the demands placed on optical hardware in obtaining a desired imaging performance. In the first main section, we cover lens-based computational imaging, in particular, light-field microscopy, structured illumination, synthetic aperture, Fourier ptychography, and compressive imaging. In the second main section, we review lensfree holographic on-chip imaging, including how images are reconstructed, phase recovery techniques, and integration with smart substrates for more advanced imaging tasks. In the third main section we describe how these and other microscopy modalities have been implemented in compact and field-portable devices, often based around smartphones. Finally, we conclude with some comments about opportunities and demand for better results, and where we believe the field is heading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number076001
JournalReports on Progress in Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - May 23 2016


  • compact implementationsoptical microscopy
  • computational microscopy
  • imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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