Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2019 Aug 21;8:75.
doi: 10.1038/s41377-019-0187-1. eCollection 2019.

Colour Compound Lenses for a Portable Fluorescence Microscope

Free PMC article

Colour Compound Lenses for a Portable Fluorescence Microscope

Bo Dai et al. Light Sci Appl. .
Free PMC article


In this article, we demonstrated a handheld smartphone fluorescence microscope (HSFM) that integrates dual-functional polymer lenses with a smartphone. The HSFM consists of a smartphone, a field-portable illumination source, and a dual-functional polymer lens that performs both optical imaging and filtering. Therefore, compared with the existing smartphone fluorescence microscope, the HSFM does not need any additional optical filters. Although fluorescence imaging has traditionally played an indispensable role in biomedical and clinical applications due to its high specificity and sensitivity for detecting cells, proteins, DNAs/RNAs, etc., the bulky elements of conventional fluorescence microscopes make them inconvenient for use in point-of-care diagnosis. The HSFM demonstrated in this article solves this problem by providing a multifunctional, miniature, small-form-factor fluorescence module. This multifunctional fluorescence module can be seamlessly attached to any smartphone camera for both bright-field and fluorescence imaging at cellular-scale resolutions without the use of additional bulky lenses/filters; in fact, the HSFM achieves magnification and light filtration using a single lens. Cell and tissue observation, cell counting, plasmid transfection evaluation, and superoxide production analysis were performed using this device. Notably, this lens system has the unique capability of functioning with numerous smartphones, irrespective of the smartphone model and the camera technology housed within each device. As such, this HSFM has the potential to pave the way for real-time point-of-care diagnosis and opens up countless possibilities for personalized medicine.

Keywords: Optical materials and structures; Optics and photonics.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interestThe authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1. Fabrication process of the colour compound lens.
a Fabrication process for constructing colour compound lenses for smartphones with round protruding camera housings, as well as less accessible camera housings. The colour compound lenses for phones without protruding lenses are prepared on a stand-alone glass disk for future placement on the camera lens. b A yellow lens is directly fabricated on the smartphone that has a round protruding camera housing (Model I). Inset: the preprepared blue lens peeled off from the camera housing. c A yellow lens is transferred onto a smartphone with the other camera housing type (Model II). Inset: the yellow lens for installation onto the camera housing. d Blue, transparent, red, yellow, and green lenses were fabricated on glass disks to create various fluorescence filters. e Schematic diagram of fluorescence imaging. The smartphone equipped with a green lens is to capture green fluorescence from a sample illuminated by a blue light beam
Fig. 2
Fig. 2. Characterization of the colour compound lens.
a, b Measured contact angles for the Model I camera housing with polymer volumes of 9.5 and 22.9 μL. Scale bar = 2 mm. c, d Measured contact angles for the Model II camera housing, where the polymer volume was 12.7 and 21.2 μL. Scale bar = 2 mm. Focal length as a function of the polymer and PDMS volumes for the camera housing of f Model I and e Model II, respectively. Images of the resolution target USAF-1951 with different camera magnifications captured by the camera in gi Model I and jl Model II housing. The right insets show the intensity profiles along the blue, red, and green lines
Fig. 3
Fig. 3. Cell observation and cell counting using HSFM.
ah Bright-field images of HBEC3-KT cells, 4T1 cells, B16-F0 cells, and Hub7 cells. Scale bar = 100 μm. i, j Images of A375 cells in a Fuchs-Rosenthal chamber for concentration analysis. Scale bar = 200 μm. k Cell counting results obtained by the smartphones and a cell counter
Fig. 4
Fig. 4. Fluorescence images of human liver tissues using the HSFM.
The excitation wavelengths for DAPI and AF488 were 365 and 480 nm, respectively. The images were captured by the smartphone equipped with the blue lens and the green lens. The histogram is in log scale. Scale bars = 50 μm
Fig. 5
Fig. 5. Fluorescence images of the EGFP-tagged human NLRP3 gene in 293T cells using the HSFM.
The excitation wavelengths for DAPI and EGFP were 365 and 480 nm, respectively. The images were captured by the smartphone equipped with the blue lens and the green lens. Scale bar = 50 μm
Fig. 6
Fig. 6. Evaluation of superoxide production using the HSFM.
a Fluorescence images of LPS-stimulated HBEC3-KT cells stained with DAPI and MitoSOX Red and excited at 365 and 520 nm, respectively. The images were captured by the smartphone equipped with the blue lens and the red lens. Scale bar = 50 μm. b Mitochondrial superoxide levels in HBEC3-KT cells exposed to LPS at different concentrations

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 1 article


    1. Niehörster T, et al. Multi-target spectrally resolved fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy. Nat. Methods. 2016;13:257–262. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.3740. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Ji N. Adaptive optical fluorescence microscopy. Nat. Methods. 2017;14:374–380. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.4218. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Pepperkok R, Ellenberg J. High-throughput fluorescence microscopy for systems biology. Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 2006;7:690–696. doi: 10.1038/nrm1979. - DOI - PubMed
    1. French CT, et al. Dissection of the Burkholderia intracellular life cycle using a photothermal nanoblade. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA. 2011;108:12095–12100. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1107183108. - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Blauch LR, et al. Microfluidic guillotine for single-cell wound repair studies. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA. 2017;114:7283–7288. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1705059114. - DOI - PMC - PubMed

LinkOut - more resources