Digital holography as a method for 3D imaging and estimating the biovolume of motile cells†
Sperm morphology is regarded as a significant prognostic factor for fertilization, as abnormal sperm structure is one of the most common factors in male infertility. Furthermore, obtaining accurate morphological information is an important issue with strong implications in zoo-technical industries, for example to perform sorting of species X from species Y. A challenging step forward would be the availability of a fast, high-throughput and label-free system for the measurement of physical parameters and visualization of the 3D shape of such biological specimens. Here we show a quantitative imaging approach to estimate simply and quickly the biovolume of sperm cells, combining the optical tweezers technique with digital holography, in a single and integrated set-up for a biotechnology assay process on the lab-on-a-chip scale. This approach can open the way for fast and high-throughput analysis in label-free microfluidic based “cytofluorimeters” and prognostic examination based on sperm morphology, thus allowing advancements in reproductive science.