Biological super-resolution imaging using high-index microspheres for cancer research application

Period of Performance: 02/15/2016 - 11/14/2016


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Spherevis, LLC
Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator


? DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Optical microscopy is the most commonly used imaging technique in life and material sciences; however, the spatial resolution of any standard microscope is fundamentally limited by the diffraction of light waves which for visible light restricts spatial resolution to ~250 nm. Surpassing the diffraction-limit significantly impacts several disciplines, such as medical and material sciences, microfluidics, and nanophotonics, and therefore has been the subject of considerable research effort. Several imaging techniques based on near-field scanning probes and various fluorescent-based schemes have been developed in the past to overcome the diffraction-limit. These techniques, however, are associated with a complex design and high economic cost, and require dedicated equipment and scanning across the specimen that increases the image acquisition time; furthermore, near-field scanning leads to significant loss of optical throughput and fluorescent-based methods are applicable only to specimens that are decorated with fluorophores. We have focused on developing a simple generic super-resolution imaging method. Specifically, we recently demonstrated feasibility of imaging biological and photonic structures, with resolution improvement by a factor of 2-3, by using novel super-resolution microscope slides (SRMS) composed of a monolayer array of microspheres, with high index of refraction, fixed in a transparent elastomer layer. The slides are simply placed over the specimen under investigation as a coverslip to increase the image spatial resolution of a standard microscope. The objective of this proposal by SphereVis is toward the development of low-cost technologies for global health by developing the technology of mass-fabrication of optimized novel super-resolution microscope slides as a commercial product. The proposed SRMS provides medical science researchers with a new tool for cancer biology research and has a broad range of applications, allowing super-resolution imaging of biological, metallic, and semiconductor structures. We will design and fabricate SRMS and characterize their imaging properties, i.e. resolution gain, magnification, and field-of-view, for different schemes of SRMS to optimize the design parameters for application in ?-H2AX assay of proton-irradiated V79 and U87 cancer cell lines.