Reconfigurable Mask Enables Lensless Medical Imaging

SaaSResearchers at Penn State University in the US have developed a new medical imaging technique for a multishot lensless camera that is based on a reconfigurable mask technology.

The team developed the medical imaging technique that does not require a lens but instead uses reconfigurable particle-based masks to take multiple shots of an object, according to Lab News.

The lensless camera uses an electric-field directed self-assembling mask technology which makes it ideal for use in lower-cost and faster diagnosis of disease. It may also find use in the development of optical microscopy and could enable thinner mobile phone technology.

The lensless camera is based on a mask of microscopic gold wires to be placed close to the object to be captured. The mask scatters the light reflected off the object and an image sensor collects the light.

An electric current rearranges the particles in the mask, which produces a new mask with every iteration, and the image is recorded in the system. The multiple images are then reconstructed into the original object image, which results in an improved resolution in a higher quality.

Jennifer Miller, a doctoral candidate in chemistry and a first author on a paper recently published online in ACS Nano, explains that the team were not the first to work on lens-free imaging.

“What is different about our work is that typically you would need to make multiple masks and physically move them around to get multiple images. This becomes bulky and expensive and negates some of the simplicity that is the advantage of lens-free imaging,” she said.

There is typically a trade-off between the field of view and the power of the resolution in microscopy, meaning a 10x field is wider than a 100x field. With the implementation of lens-free imaging technology, it becomes possible to combine both a wide field of view with high magnification and at a lower cost.

The development would be particularly useful in developing countries where high-end microscopes are not available.

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