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PLoS One. 2018 Mar 15;13(3):e0194063. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194063. eCollection 2018.

A modular, open-source, slide-scanning microscope for diagnostic applications in resource-constrained settings.

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Department of Precision Machinery and Precision Instrumentation, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, China.
School of Animal Science and Technology, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei, Anhui, China.


In this paper we report the development of a cost-effective, modular, open source, and fully automated slide-scanning microscope, composed entirely of easily available off-the-shelf parts, and capable of bright field and fluorescence modes. The automated X-Y stage is composed of two low-cost micrometer stages coupled to stepper motors operated in open-loop mode. The microscope is composed of a low-cost CMOS sensor and low-cost board lenses placed in a 4f configuration. The system has approximately 1 micron resolution, limited by the f/# of available board lenses. The microscope is compact, measuring just 25×25×30 cm, and has an absolute positioning accuracy of ±1 μm in the X and Y directions. A Z-stage enables autofocusing and imaging over large fields of view even on non-planar samples, and custom software enables automatic determination of sample boundaries and image mosaicking. We demonstrate the utility of our device through imaging of fluorescent- and transmission-dye stained blood and fecal smears containing human and animal parasites, as well as several prepared tissue samples. These results demonstrate image quality comparable to high-end commercial microscopes at a cost of less than US$400 for a bright-field system, with an extra US$100 needed for the fluorescence module.

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