Endowing a plain fluidic chip with micro-optics: a holographic microscope slide

Vittorio Bianco, Biagio Mandracchia, Valentina Marchesano, Vito Pagliarulo, Federico Olivieri, Sara Coppola, Melania Paturzo, Pietro Ferraro

doi:10.1038/lsa.2017.55

Abstract:Lab-on-a-Chip (LoC) devices are extremely promising in that they enable diagnostic functions at the point-of-care. Within this scope, an important goal is to design imaging schemes that can be used out of the laboratory. In this paper, we introduce and test a pocket holographic slide that allows digital holography microscopy to be performed without an interferometer setup. Instead, a commercial off-the-shelf plastic chip is engineered and functionalized with this aim. The microfluidic chip is endowed with micro-optics, that is, a diffraction grating and polymeric lenses, to build an interferometer directly on the chip, avoiding the need for a reference arm and external bulky optical components. Thanks to the single-beam scheme, the system is completely integrated and robust against vibrations, sharing the useful features of any common path interferometer. Hence, it becomes possible to bring holographic functionalities out of the lab, moving complexity from the external optical apparatus to the chip itself. Label-free imaging and quantitative phase contrast mapping of live samples are demonstrated, along with flexible refocusing capabilities. Thus, a liquid volume can be analyzed in one single shot with no need for mechanical scanning systems.

On-chip wireless silicon photonics: from reconfigurable interconnects to lab-on-chip devices

Carlos García-Meca, Sergio Lechago, Antoine Brimont, Amadeu Griol, Sara Mas, Luis Sánchez, Laurent Bellieres, Nuria S Losilla, Javier Martí

doi:10.1038/lsa.2017.53

Abstract:Photonic integrated circuits are developing as key enabling components for high-performance computing and advanced network-on-chip, as well as other emerging technologies such as lab-on-chip sensors, with relevant applications in areas from medicine and biotechnology to aerospace. These demanding applications will require novel features, such as dynamically reconfigurable light pathways, obtained by properly harnessing on-chip optical radiation. In this paper, we introduce a broadband, high directivity (>150), low loss and reconfigurable silicon photonics nanoantenna that fully enables on-chip radiation control. We propose the use of these nanoantennas as versatile building blocks to develop wireless (unguided) silicon photonic devices, which considerably enhance the range of achievable integrated photonic functionalities. As examples of applications, we demonstrate 160 Gbit s−1 data transmission over mm-scale wireless interconnects, a compact low-crosstalk 12-port crossing and electrically reconfigurable pathways via optical beam steering. Moreover, the realization of a flow micro-cytometer for particle characterization demonstrates the smart system integration potential of our approach as lab-on-chip devices.

FRAME: femtosecond videography for atomic and molecular dynamics

Andreas Ehn, Joakim Bood, Zheming Li, Edouard Berrocal, Marcus Aldén, Elias Kristensson

doi:10.1038/lsa.2017.45

Abstract:Many important scientific questions in physics, chemistry and biology require effective methodologies to spectroscopically probe ultrafast intra- and inter-atomic/molecular dynamics. However, current methods that extend into the femtosecond regime are capable of only point measurements or single-snapshot visualizations and thus lack the capability to perform ultrafast spectroscopic videography of dynamic single events. Here we present a laser-probe-based method that enables two-dimensional videography at ultrafast timescales (femtosecond and shorter) of single, non-repetitive events. The method is based on superimposing a structural code onto the illumination to encrypt a single event, which is then deciphered in a post-processing step. This coding strategy enables laser probing with arbitrary wavelengths/bandwidths to collect signals with indiscriminate spectral information, thus allowing for ultrafast videography with full spectroscopic capability. To demonstrate the high temporal resolution of our method, we present videography of light propagation with record high 200 femtosecond temporal resolution. The method is widely applicable for studying a multitude of dynamical processes in physics, chemistry and biology over a wide range of time scales. Because the minimum frame separation (temporal resolution) is dictated by only the laser pulse duration, attosecond-laser technology may further increase video rates by several orders of magnitude.

Wave propagation through disordered media without backscattering and intensity variations

Konstantinos G Makris, Andre Brandstötter, Philipp Ambichl, Ziad H Musslimani, Stefan Rotter

doi:10.1038/lsa.2017.35

Abstract:A fundamental manifestation of wave scattering in a disordered medium is the highly complex intensity pattern the waves acquire due to multi-path interference. Here we show that these intensity variations can be entirely suppressed by adding disorder-specific gain and loss components to the medium. The resulting constant-intensity waves in such non-Hermitian scattering landscapes are free of any backscattering and feature perfect transmission through the disorder. An experimental demonstration of these unique wave states is envisioned based on spatially modulated pump beams that can flexibly control the gain and loss components in an active medium.

Particle manipulation beyond the diffraction limit using structured super-oscillating light beams

Brijesh K Singh, Harel Nagar, Yael Roichman, Ady Arie

doi:10.1038/lsa.2017.50

Abstract:The diffraction-limited resolution of light focused by a lens was derived in 1873 by Ernst Abbe. Later in 1952, a method to reach sub-diffraction light spots was proposed by modulating the wavefront of the focused beam. In a related development, super-oscillating functions, that is, band-limited functions that locally oscillate faster than their highest Fourier component, were introduced and experimentally applied for super-resolution microscopy. Up till now, only simple Gaussian-like sub-diffraction spots were used. Here we show that the amplitude and phase profile of these sub-diffraction spots can be arbitrarily controlled. In particular, we utilize Hermite–Gauss, Laguerre–Gauss and Airy functions to structure super-oscillating beams with sub-diffraction lobes. These structured beams are then used for high-resolution trapping and manipulation of nanometer-sized particles. The trapping potential provides unprecedented localization accuracy and stiffness, significantly exceeding those provided by standard diffraction-limited beams.

Going beyond the limit of an LCD’s color gamut

Hai-Wei Chen, Rui-Dong Zhu, Juan He, Wei Duan, Wei Hu, Yan-Qing Lu, Ming-Chun Li, Seok-Lyul Lee, Ya-Jie Dong, Shin-Tson Wu

doi:10.1038/lsa.2017.43

Abstract:In this study, we analyze how a backlight’s peak wavelength, full-width at half-maximum (FWHM), and color filters affect the color gamut of a liquid crystal display (LCD) device and establish a theoretical limit, even if the FWHM approaches 1 nm. To overcome this limit, we propose a new backlight system incorporating a functional reflective polarizer and a patterned half-wave plate to decouple the polarization states of the blue light and the green/red lights. As a result, the crosstalk between three primary colors is greatly suppressed, and the color gamut is significantly widened. In the experiment, we prepare a white-light source using a blue light-emitting diode (LED) to pump green perovskite polymer film and red quantum dots and demonstrate an exceedingly large color gamut (95.8% Rec. 2020 in Commission internationale de l'éclairage (CIE) 1931 color space and 97.3% Rec. 2020 in CIE 1976 color space) with commercial high-efficiency color filters. These results are beyond the color gamut limit achievable by a conventional LCD. Our design works equally well for other light sources, such as a 2-phosphor-converted white LED.

Air quality monitoring using mobile microscopy and machine learning

Yi-Chen Wu, Ashutosh Shiledar, Yi-Cheng Li, Jeffrey Wong, Steve Feng, Xuan Chen, Christine Chen, Kevin Jin, Saba Janamian, Zhe Yang, Zachary Scott Ballard, Zoltán Göröcs, Alborz Feizi, Aydogan Ozcan

doi:10.1038/lsa.2017.46

Abstract:Rapid, accurate and high-throughput sizing and quantification of particulate matter (PM) in air is crucial for monitoring and improving air quality. In fact, particles in air with a diameter of ≤2.5 μm have been classified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization. Here we present a field-portable cost-effective platform for high-throughput quantification of particulate matter using computational lens-free microscopy and machine-learning. This platform, termed c-Air, is also integrated with a smartphone application for device control and display of results. This mobile device rapidly screens 6.5 L of air in 30 s and generates microscopic images of the aerosols in air. It provides statistics of the particle size and density distribution with a sizing accuracy of ~93%. We tested this mobile platform by measuring the air quality at different indoor and outdoor environments and measurement times, and compared our results to those of an Environmental Protection Agency–approved device based on beta-attenuation monitoring, which showed strong correlation to c-Air measurements. Furthermore, we used c-Air to map the air quality around Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) over 24 h to confirm that the impact of LAX on increased PM concentration was present even at >7 km away from the airport, especially along the direction of landing flights. With its machine-learning-based computational microscopy interface, c-Air can be adaptively tailored to detect specific particles in air, for example, various types of pollen and mold and provide a cost-effective mobile solution for highly accurate and distributed sensing of air quality.

Achromatic super-oscillatory lenses with sub-wavelength focusing

Guang Hui Yuan, Edward TF Rogers, Nikolay I Zheludev

doi:10.1038/lsa.2017.36

Abstract:Lenses are crucial to light-enabled technologies. Conventional lenses have been perfected to achieve near-diffraction-limited resolution and minimal chromatic aberrations. However, such lenses are bulky and cannot focus light into a hotspot smaller than a half-wavelength of light. Pupil filters, initially suggested by Toraldo di Francia, can overcome the resolution constraints of conventional lenses but are not intrinsically chromatically corrected. Here we report single-element planar lenses that not only deliver sub-wavelength focusing, thus beating the diffraction limit of conventional refractive lenses, but also focus light of different colors into the same hotspot. Using the principle of super-oscillations, we designed and fabricated a range of binary dielectric and metallic lenses for visible and infrared parts of the spectrum that are manufactured on silicon wafers, silica substrates and optical fiber tips. Such low-cost, compact lenses could be useful in mobile devices, data storage, surveillance, robotics, space applications, imaging, manufacturing with light and spatially resolved nonlinear microscopies.

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