High-speed particle detection and tracking in microfluidic devices using event-based sensing

Howell, J., Hammarton, T. C. , Altmann, Y. and Jimenez, M. (2020) High-speed particle detection and tracking in microfluidic devices using event-based sensing. Lab on a Chip, 20(16), pp. 3024-3035. (doi: 10.1039/D0LC00556H) (PMID:32700715)

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Visualising fluids and particles within channels is a key element of microfluidic work. Current imaging methods for particle image velocimetry often require expensive high-speed cameras with powerful illuminating sources, thus potentially limiting accessibility. This study explores for the first time the potential of an event-based camera for particle and fluid behaviour characterisation in a microfluidic system. Event-based cameras have the unique capacity to detect light intensity changes asynchronously and to record spatial and temporal information with low latency, low power and high dynamic range. Event-based cameras could consequently be relevant for detecting light intensity changes due to moving particles, chemical reactions or intake of fluorescent dyes by cells to mention a few. As a proof-of-principle, event-based sensing was tested in this work to detect 1 μm and 10 μm diameter particles flowing in a microfluidic channel for average fluid velocities of up to 1.54 m s−1. Importantly, experiments were performed by directly connecting the camera to a standard fluorescence microscope, only relying on the microscope arc lamp for illumination. We present a data processing strategy that allows particle detection and tracking in both bright-field and fluorescence imaging. Detection was achieved up to a fluid velocity of 1.54 m s−1 and tracking up to 0.4 m s−1 suggesting that event-based cameras could be a new paradigm shift in microscopic imaging.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Howell, Ms Jessie and Jimenez, Dr Melanie and Hammarton, Dr Tansy
Authors: Howell, J., Hammarton, T. C., Altmann, Y., and Jimenez, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Biomedical Engineering
Journal Name:Lab on a Chip
Publisher:Royal Society of Chemistry
ISSN (Online):1473-0189
Published Online:17 July 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Lab on a Chip 20(16): 3024-3035
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
302160New Microsystems for Antimicrobial ResistanceMelanie JimenezEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/R006482/1ENG - Biomedical Engineering