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Sci Rep. 2017 Jan 9;7:40203. doi: 10.1038/srep40203.

Smartphone-based low light detection for bioluminescence application.

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Applied Optics Laboratory, School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.
Universidad Nacional Colombia-Palmira, Palmira Colombia.
Department of Food Science, Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.


We report a smartphone-based device and associated imaging-processing algorithm to maximize the sensitivity of standard smartphone cameras, that can detect the presence of single-digit pW of radiant flux intensity. The proposed hardware and software, called bioluminescent-based analyte quantitation by smartphone (BAQS), provides an opportunity for onsite analysis and quantitation of luminescent signals from biological and non-biological sensing elements which emit photons in response to an analyte. A simple cradle that houses the smartphone, sample tube, and collection lens supports the measuring platform, while noise reduction by ensemble averaging simultaneously lowers the background and enhances the signal from emitted photons. Five different types of smartphones, both Android and iOS devices, were tested, and the top two candidates were used to evaluate luminescence from the bioluminescent reporter Pseudomonas fluorescens M3A. The best results were achieved by OnePlus One (android), which was able to detect luminescence from ~106 CFU/mL of the bio-reporter, which corresponds to ~107 photons/s with 180 seconds of integration time.

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