Optical phase and birefringence signals occur in cells and thin, semi-transparent biomaterials. A dual-modality quantitative phase and polarization microscope was designed to study the interaction of cells with extracellular matrix networks and to relate optical pathlength and birefringence signals within structurally anisotropic biomaterial constructs. The design was based on an existing, custom-built digital holographic microscope, to which was added a polarization microscope utilizing liquid crystal variable retarders. Phase and birefringence channels were calibrated, and data was acquired sequentially from cell-seeded collagen hydrogels and electrofabricated chitosan membranes. Computed phase height and retardance from standard targets were accurate within 99.7% and 99.8%, respectively. Phase height and retardance channel background standard deviations were 35 nm and 0.6 nm, respectively. Human fibroblasts, visible in the phase channel, aligned with collagen network microstructure, with retardance and azimuth visible in the polarization channel. Electrofabricated chitosan membranes formed in 40 µm tall microfluidic channels possessed optical retardance ranging from 7 to 11 nm, and phase height from 37 to 39 µm. These results demonstrate co-registered dual-channel acquisition of phase and birefringence parameter maps from microstructurally-complex biospecimens using a novel imaging system combining digital holographic microscopy with voltage-controlled polarization microscopy.
A liquid crystal variable retarder (LCVR) enables fast, automated control of retardance that can be used as a variable waveplate in polarimetric instruments. However, precise control of the polarization state requires calibration of the LCVR. A manufacturer calibration curve is typically supplied for a single specific wavelength and temperature, but for applications under different conditions, additional calibration is needed. Calibration is typically performed with crossed polarizers to generate an intensity curve that is converted to retardance, but this method is prone to noise when retardance is close to zero. Here, we demonstrate a simple common-path Sagnac interferometer to measure retardance and provide open source software for automated generation of calibration curves for retardance as a function of wavelength and voltage. We also provide a curve fitting method and closed-form functional representation that outputs the voltage needed to achieve a desired retardance given a specified wavelength.
- Award ID(s):
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Applied Optics
- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- Article No. 10673
- 1559-128X; APOPAI
- Optical Society of America
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Dual-modality digital holographic and polarization microscope to quantify phase and birefringence signals in biospecimens with a complex microstructure
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