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Coherently Advanced Tissue and Cell Holographic Imaging and Trapping

Final Report Summary - CATCHIT (Coherently Advanced Tissue and Cell Holographic Imaging and Trapping)

The catchIT project developed Coherently Advanced Tissue and Cell Holographic Imaging and Trapping techniques. The project extended computer-generated “synthetic holography” for shaping the wave-front of light beams creating novel optical trapping and imaging systems. The key component is a miniature liquid crystal display, an array of micron-sized pixels that can be addressed individually, acting as a programmable hologram “sculpturing” the optical wave-front.

catchIT has created new types of optical traps confining and moving the largest living micro-organisms to have ever been optically caught (>10 times larger than previously). Combining the holographical optical trap with MHz ultrasound waves restricts the organisms to the focal plane allowing manipulation of even larger object size. Besides swimming micro-organisms, various trapped biological samples were studied, including blood cells, cell-clusters, spores, pollen grains, and DNA strands. The planned extraction of genetic information from trapped chromosomes has been subject to delays with the isolation and preparation of the chromosomes yet remains a work in progress.

catchIT has also extended the limits of optical imaging, exploiting holographic wave-front shaping to increase and customize essential imaging qualities, such as contrast, sensitivity and resolution. These enhancements have been achieved in both linear and non-linear microscopy. The power of synthetic holography is especially evident in “multiplexed” holograms that simultaneously capture images from many cross-sectional planes inside an extended object, or simultaneously perform optical manipulation and single-shot quantitative imaging.