Digital Holographic Microscopy (DHM) Reveals Brain's Inner Workings

Holograms reveal brain's inner workings | Health | EarthSky

  • Scientists have discovered a way to observe living neurons without damaging them – in 3D and with up to 50 times greater resolution than before. The technique, using digital holographic microscopy (DHM), is non-invasive and can create imagery of hundreds of neurons at once. DHM has the potential to streamline drug studies involving neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, because researchers can test new drugs more quickly and in greater numbers than before.

     The research team, from Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPLF) and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV), included neurobiologists, psychiatrists, and advanced imaging specialists. Results of their collaboration appear in the August 17, 2011 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.
3D Dynamic Images of Neurons @EPFL - YouTube
Holograms Reveal Brain's Inner Workings
  • “DHM is a fundamentally novel application for studying neurons with a slew of advantages over traditional microscopes,” explains Pierre Magistretti of EPFL’s Brain Mind Institute and a lead author of the paper. “It is non-invasive, allowing for extended observation of neural processes without the need for electrodes or dyes that damage cells.”

     Senior team member Pierre Marquet adds, “DHM gives precious information not only about the shape of neurons, but also about their dynamics and activity, and the technique creates 3D navigable images and increases the precision from 500 nanometers in traditional microscopes to a scale of 10 nanometers.”
Digital holographic microscopy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  Typical optical setup of DHM.

  • Digital holographic microscopy (DHM) is digital holography applied to microscopy. Digital holographic microscopy distinguishes itself from other microscopy methods by not recording the projected image of the object. Instead, the light wave front information originating from the object is digitally recorded as a hologram, from which a computer calculates the object image by using a numerical reconstruction algorithm. The image forming lens in traditional microscopy is thus replaced by a computer algorithm.

  • DHM ® , the Digital Holographic Microscopes
    For the first time, microscopes combine nanometric resolution, real-time and non-invasive three dimensional observation. These new instruments, based on a revolutionary patented technology called "Digital Holographic Microscopy" (DHM), are developed, manufactured and commercialized by Lyncée Tec SA.
Lynceetec - Life science applications
  • Real-time monitoring
    The DHM system is an ideal tool for real-time cell monitoring because it allows, from a single image acquisition, non-invasive high-resolution imaging of living cells in their natural environment without use of a contrast agent. The real-time imaging (up to 15 fps for a 512x512 pixels image) and the postponed reconstruction (up to 10'000 fps by using high-acquisition rate camera) make the DHM instrument a system well suited for the dynamic analysis of morphological modification of cells due to natural or artificial stimulations such as drugs, electrical or thermal stimuli.
    For example, neuron cell swelling induced by hypotonic stress was studied by the Brain Mind Institute (EPFL, Switzerland).