Phase measurement using DIC microscopy

Krisztian Koos, Begüm Peksel, L. Kelemen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The development of uorescent probes and proteins has helped make light microscopy more popular by allowing the visualization of specific subcellular components, location and dynamics of biomolecules. However, it is not always feasible to label the cells as it may be phototoxic or perturb their functionalities. Label-free microscopy techniques allow us to work with live cells without perturbation and to evaluate morphological differences, which in turn can provide useful information for high-throughput assays. In this study, we use one of the most popular label-free techniques called differential interference contrast (DIC) microscopy to estimate the phase of cells and other nearly transparent objects and instantly estimate their height. DIC images provide detailed information about the optical path length (OPL) differences in the sample and they are visually similar to a gradient image. Our previous DIC reconstruction algorithm outputs an image where the values are proportional to the OPL (or implicitly the phase) of the sample. Although the reconstructed images are capable of describing cellular morphology and to a certain extent turn DIC into a quantitative technique, the actual OPL has to be computed from the input DIC image and the microscope calibration settings. Here we propose a computational method to measure the phase and approximate height of cells after microscope calibration, assuming a linear formation model. After a calibration step the phase of further samples can be determined when the refractive indices of the sample and the surrounding medium is known. The precision of the method is demonstrated on recon-structing the thickness of known objects and real cellular samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-643
Number of pages15
JournalActa Cybernetica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017



  • DIC microscopy
  • Image processing
  • Phase imaging
  • Quantitative phase microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics

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