Under the chip
A small microscope that can study various samples at one go
since its invention in the 16th century, the microscope has been improved many times. With better magnification, the size too increased and its use got limited to labs. But now, this basic tool has been designed about the size of a fingertip. Instead of using lenses, the new microscope uses computer chips.
Developed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the optofluidic microscope can simplify diagnostics such as blood fraction analysis, screening urine for infection cells and counting tumour cells. The microscope can also be taken to the field and can be of great help to biologists. The resolution of the microscope is 0.8 micron. This helps distinguish two separate characters at this distance. An added advantage is the microscope does not need a specific source of light.
The new instrument combines traditional computer-chip technology with microfluidics