Imaging ONE WORLD - "The Power in your Pocket - Your Smartphone as a Super-Resolution Microscope"

1 February 2021


RMS Hosted Event

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This week will feature Benedict Diederich from Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technology.

Scientific Organisers: Stefanie Reichelt, Alex Sossick, Nick Barry, Alessandro Esposito and Kirti Prakash

The meeting will begin at 13:00GMT.

As part of the 'Imaging ONE WORLD' series, the focus of these lectures is on microscopy and image analysis methods and how to apply these to your research. Almost all aspects of imaging such as sample preparation, labelling strategies, experimental workflows, ‘how-to’ image and analyse, as well as facilitating collaborations and inspiring new scientific ideas will be covered. Speakers will be available for questions and answers. The organisers, CRUK CI core facility staff, Gurdon Institute, MRC-LMB, MRC Cancer Unit and NPL will be able to continue the discussion and provide advice on your imaging projects.


  • Benedict Diederich

    Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technology
    After doing an apprenticeship as an electrician, Benedict Diederich started studying electrical engineering at the University for Applied Science Cologne. A specialisation in optics and an internship at Nikon Microscopy Japan pointed him to the interdisciplinary field of microscopy. After working for Zeiss he started his PhD in the Heintzmann Lab at the Leibniz IPHT Jena, where he focusses on bringing cutting edge research to everybody by relying on tailored image processing and low-cost optical setups. Part of his PhD program took place at the Photonics Center at the Boston University in the Tian Lab. A recent contribution was the open-source optical toolbox UC2 (You-See-Too) which tries to democratise science by making cutting-edge affordable and available to everyone, everywhere.

Speaker Abstract

Modern microscopy methods enable impressive images that provide deeper insights for interdisciplinary research. Very often, however, these methods are accompanied by complex optical setups, which leads to a high price and unfortunately gives these methods a certain exclusivity. By using standard components such as cell phones and low-cost optics in combination with customized software, we want to solve the PRoblem and provide high-quality and reproducible tools.

With UC2 (You-See-Too) we have recently introduced a low-cost modular 3D printable microscopy toolkit that aims to create an open standard in optics. It simplifies the creation and sharing of arbitrarily complicated optical setups by relying on the inherently modular optical Fourier principle and comprehensive open source documentation [1]. The growing community of educators, developers and users established easy-to-use systems, such as the light sheet microscope or the "openSIM" for structured illumination with microscopic super resolution. UC2 can help biologists to answer new questions with highly available microscopes or support university students to understand the basic principles of optics by challenging their creativity.

A more sophisticated, yet frugal approach to optical nanoscopy is presented with the stand-alone cellSTORM device [2], which is based on a cell phone for image acquisition and processing as well as on a photon chip-enabled illumination. The system provides an optical resolution of 100nm using single molecule localization microscopy and can deliver live images with super resolution using light intensity fluctuation methods. We demonstrate its potential use in benchtop incubators and high bio-safety environments by imaging SARS-CoV-2 viroids. By developing cost-effective instruments and sharing designs and manuals, the stage is set for the democratization of super-resolution imaging. 

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