We have developed a novel multimodal microscopy system that incorporates confocal Raman, confocal reflectance, and quantitative phase microscopy (QPM) into a single imaging entity. Confocal Raman microscopy provides detailed chemical information from the sample, while confocal reflectance and quantitative phase microscopy show detailed morphology. Combining these intrinsic contrast imaging modalities makes it possible to obtain quantitative morphological and chemical information without exogenous staining. For validation and characterization, we have used this multi-modal system to investigate healthy and diseased blood samples. We first show that the thickness of a healthy red blood cell (RBC) shows good correlation with its hemoglobin distribution. Further, in malaria infected RBCs, we successfully image the distribution of hemozoin (malaria pigment) inside the cell. Our observations lead us to propose morphological screening by QPM and subsequent chemical imaging by Raman for investigating blood disorders. This new approach allows monitoring cell development and cell-drug interactions with minimal perturbation of the biological system of interest.
Keywords: (170.1530) Cell analysis; (180.3170) Interference Microscopy; (180.5655) Raman microscopy.