Generative optical modeling of whole blood for detecting platelets in lens-free images

Biomed Opt Express. 2020 Mar 5;11(4):1808-1818. doi: 10.1364/BOE.382280. eCollection 2020 Apr 1.


In this paper, we consider the task of detecting platelets in images of diluted whole blood taken with a lens-free microscope. Despite having several advantages over traditional microscopes, lens-free imaging systems have the significant challenge that the resolution of the system is typically limited by the pixel dimensions of the image sensor. As a result of this limited resolution, detecting platelets is very difficult even by manual inspection of the images due to the fact that platelets occupy just a few pixels of the reconstructed image. To address this challenge, we develop an optical model of diluted whole blood to generate physically realistic simulated holograms suitable for training machine learning models in a supervised manner. We then use this model to train a convolutional neural network (CNN) for platelet detection and validate our approach by developing a novel optical configuration which allows collecting both lens-free and fluorescent microscopy images of the same field of view of diluted whole blood samples with fluorescently labeled platelets.