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Sci Rep. 2013;3:2369. doi: 10.1038/srep02369.

Ptychography--a label free, high-contrast imaging technique for live cells using quantitative phase information.

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Imaging and Cytometry Laboratory, Bioscience Technology Facility, Department of Biology, University of York, UK.


Cell imaging often relies on synthetic or genetic fluorescent labels, to provide contrast which can be far from ideal for imaging cells in their in vivo state. We report on the biological application of a, label-free, high contrast microscopy technique known as ptychography, in which the image producing step is transferred from the microscope lens to a high-speed phase retrieval algorithm. We demonstrate that this technology is appropriate for label-free imaging of adherent cells and is particularly suitable for reporting cellular changes such as mitosis, apoptosis and cell differentiation. The high contrast, artefact-free, focus-free information rich images allow dividing cells to be distinguished from non-dividing cells by a greater than two-fold increase in cell contrast, and we demonstrate this technique is suitable for downstream automated cell segmentation and analysis.

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