6. Oct. 2021

In the summer of this year, CEITEC Brno University of Technology enriched its laboratories with a new version of the Q-Phase microscope from Telight, which works on the basis of quantitative phase imaging.

"Previous experience has made it possible to optimize the design of the latest version of the microscope, facilitate its operation and, in particular, improve the display parameters. This is important both for the innovation of the research methodology of living cells, especially cancer cells, and for more accurate measurements in the field of nanomaterials," says prof. Radim Chmelík, head of the research group Experimental Biophotonics at CEITEC BUT, and at the same time the holder of the Czech Head – Invention Award 2016, awarded to successful Czech scientists.

Prof. Radim Chmelík is the main originator of the patented microscope technology, the development of which the research group has been dealing with since the 1990s. Ing. Tomáš Slabý, Ph.D., is now head of development at Telight, which manufactures the device commercially. "Q-Phase is suitable, for example, for the research of cancer cells, or for example the effectiveness of drugs," says Tomáš Slabý, describing the usual use of the device.

The holographic microscope enables long-term imaging and simultaneous quantification of some important properties of living biological objects without the need for their staining, which more or less affects their natural behaviour. An example is the numerical determination of the mass of parts of living cells and the temporal change of its spatial distribution. The most significant advantage of the microscope is the unique accuracy of this quantification. The microscope uses phase imaging, i.e. monitoring of various light wave shifts, which occur when light passes through objects with different optical densities. The use of incoherent lighting makes it possible to achieve exceptional phase display quality. The optical thickness of the cell is measured with an accuracy of less than 2 nanometers, which allows the accurate detection of even the smallest changes in weight corresponding to 8 femtograms (that is, eight millionths of a millionths of a milligram). This accuracy is important, for example, in cell cycle monitoring or cell death studies, and allows for highly accurate and automated recognition of individual cells. This is an important prerequisite for the subsequent analysis of mass data measured on the cell – their comparison, correlation and statistical evaluation. Telight's Q-Phase holographic microscope works in several imaging modes – phase imaging can be combined with fluorescence imaging, which complements specific information about the structure and activity of the molecules of the observed objects.

This upgrade was financed by MEYS, CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/18_046/0016045 - Modernization of the National Infrastructure for Biological and Medical Imaging Czech-BioImaging and Brno University of Technology.

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