Visualize cells and tissues utilizing UV microscopy.
- Low cost.
- Quick diagnostic for blood cultures especially for cancer diagnosis or Sickle cell anemia.
- Ability to visualize live cells and tissues via UV microscopy.
- Label and fixative free.
Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is a silicon-based organic polymer that is widely used in many industries for various applications including medical devices, cosmetics, lubrication, etc. PDMS is a versatile and low-cost polymer that possesses unique physical and chemical properties that make it suitable for manufacturing PDMS-based devices and substrates. Apart from being non-toxic and inflammable, PDMS is optically clear and when manufactured into a microfluidic device can enable microscopic evaluation of many biological and physical phenomena under visible light. Despite these unique properties, the application of PDMS-based devices to study live cells under ultraviolet (UV) light via the label and fixative-free UV microscopy has been largely neglected. PDMS is significantly less expensive than conventional UV-transparent materials such as quartz or fused silica and can be readily manufactured in large quantities, making it a suitable alternative for many applications such as UV microscopy and spectroscopy of cells, tissues, and biomolecules for research and diagnostic purposes.
Emory researchers have recently used deep UV microscopy for label-free detection of blood components in UV transparent PDMS-based microfluidic devices. Researchers first characterized the optical absorption properties of PDMS in the blue to UV-C regions of the spectrum (c.a. 450-220 nm) and demonstrated the utility of the PDMS substrate material for microscopy in this wavelength range. The low optical transmittance of plastics and glass in the UV range could then be circumvented using this method. With these results, they could then develop an array of microfluidic systems for easy, label-free imaging of whole blood and detection of white blood cells. This reduces the need for costly and complex staining procedures and signifies its unique implications in many areas of medicine and biology.
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