What is Optofluidics?

Optofluidic Microscopy

The Optofluidic Microscope, or OFM for short, is the first successful effort to integrate a high resolution microscope onto a lab-on-a-chip platform. This project fuses the advantages of optical and microfluidic technologies to create small, cheap and very high throughput microscope systems. The OFM operates without optical elements that are generally associated with a conventional microscope.The microscope itself is about the size of Washington's nose on a quarter. As you can see from the images of C. elegans shown here, the image acquired by the OFM is comparable in quality to that from a conventional 40x microscope.

The application range of the OFM is very wide. A matchbox size high resolution microscope system that a doctor can carry in his pocket from village to village for malaria diagnosis will be a boon for Third World Healthcare. A blood fraction analysis system based on the OFM can be smaller, cheaper and more accurate - instead of sending blood to the lab for analysis, a doctor can get the data he need at the patient's bedside. The potential to build tens or even hundreds of microscope on a single chip can change the way a bioscientist tackle his/her experiments. Imaging large sample populations can be done in parallel by multiple OFM systems in an automated fashion, at a much lower cost and at a small fraction of the space when compared to a conventional microscope.

PI: Changhuei Yang / Demetri Psaltis

DARPA Center for Optofluidic Integration