New imaging technique 'redefines bio-imaging'

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CEA-Leti has introduced a video lens-free imaging technique that it says redefines bio-imaging. The company says it provides significant advantages over traditional microscopy and opens a new range of capabilities for researchers, such as real-time monitoring of cell cultures.

Announced at the start of Leti Innovation Days in Grenoble, France, the lens-free microscope can perform live capture and image micron-size objects across a very large field of view (24mm2). In addition, the technique enables time-lapse imaging of cell cultures over extended periods.

CEA-Leti says the technique provides multi-scale observation capability across two orders of magnitude, allowing researchers to differentiate between tissues and cells, and bacteria and viruses. It opens a range of applications in pharmacology and biotechnology, including drug screening and bioprocess monitoring, as well portable diagnostics.

'This is a very simple and powerful tool that fulfils the "simple, small and cheap" criteria,' said Leti CEO Laurent Malier. 'As a result, we believe that widespread use of this new microscopy technique will have significant impact on our understanding of biological systems.'

'This technique allows us to image and probe tissues, cells and even bacteria and viruses in an unprecedented way,' added Leti researcher Cédric Allier, who helped develop the lens-free system.

'Instead of using bulky microscopes to image biological systems at very high resolution, the simple and lightweight lens-free microscope – which uses a CMOS sensor and an LED – can provide time-lapse movies of thousands of cells per image and monitor cell cultures in real time.'