IIT-Delhi develops cheapest microscope to show blood cells in 3 dimension

IIT-Delhi develops cheapest microscope to show blood cells in 3 dimension

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, has developed world's cheapest microscope which can show images of the cells in three dimensions.

One of the potential applications of this microscope is that it can and also help detect cancer “at a very early stage.”

The Digital Holographic Microscope (DHM) has been developed by Professors Kedar Khare and Joby Joseph from Department of Physics at IIT-Delhi and is being commercialized by Holmarc Opto-Mechatronics Pvt. Ltd. based in Kochi.

 An independent scientist Sarita Ahlawat, who is a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is developing bio-medical applications of this microscope with the help of clinicians from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi.

 “Most of the microscopes used in the current biomedical laboratories require staining or labelling of the cells thus potentially damaging them. With the use of DHM, cells can be seen in three dimensions with high accuracy. No other equipment available in the world can match its performance,” Khare told DH.

 When light waves interact with transparent lebel-free cells they are not absorbed but get a phase imprint. The phase of light waves cannot be measured directly but can be recovered using the principle of interference.

 “A few years ago, our research work at the IIT-Delhi on interferometric phase measurement led to a novel methodology that can break the traditional limit on single shot resolution and noise performance of interferometric imagers,”

 With the application of this methodology, the DHM has been developed.

 “This has made our equipment not only very precise in showing results but also highly cost effective. While microscope of this specification may cost at least Rs 1 crore European companies, our DHM would cost between Rs 10 lakh to 15 lakh. Moreover, the performance of the microscope available will be from competitors is poorer than that of our DHM,” Khare said.

 Ahlawat said that the equipment can be used in early detection of cancer or assessment of blood quality.
“Currently, there is no equipment available in the world which can detect cancer at an early stage,” she added.
To make the DHM market-ready for its use in patho-labs, Ahlawat said, the device has to be fed with adequate size of data on cancer patients.

“We have collected data of some 100 patients so far,” she added.

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