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Issue 1, 2018
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Full-angle tomographic phase microscopy of flowing quasi-spherical cells

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We report a reliable full-angle tomographic phase microscopy (FA-TPM) method for flowing quasi-spherical cells along microfluidic channels. This method lies in a completely passive optical system, i.e. mechanical scanning or multi-direction probing of the sample is avoided. It exploits the engineered rolling of cells while they are flowing along a microfluidic channel. Here we demonstrate significant progress with respect to the state of the art of in-flow TPM by showing a general extension to cells having almost spherical shapes while they are flowing in suspension. In fact, the adopted strategy allows the accurate retrieval of rotation angles through a theoretical model of the cells' rotation in a dynamic microfluidic flow by matching it with phase-contrast images resulting from holographic reconstructions. So far, the proposed method is the first and the only one that permits to get in-flow TPM by probing the cells with full-angle, achieving accurate 3D refractive index mapping and the simplest optical setup, simultaneously. Proof of concept experiments were performed successfully on human breast adenocarcinoma MCF-7 cells, opening the way for the full characterization of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the new paradigm of liquid biopsy.

Graphical abstract: Full-angle tomographic phase microscopy of flowing quasi-spherical cells

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The article was received on 01 Sep 2017, accepted on 31 Oct 2017 and first published on 31 Oct 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7LC00943G
Citation: Lab Chip, 2018,18, 126-131
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    Full-angle tomographic phase microscopy of flowing quasi-spherical cells

    M. M. Villone, P. Memmolo, F. Merola, M. Mugnano, L. Miccio, P. L. Maffettone and P. Ferraro, Lab Chip, 2018, 18, 126
    DOI: 10.1039/C7LC00943G

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