Outliers of a population, e.g., cells with a rare function that arise in fewer than one in a million individuals, are of great interest to biologists. The inherent balance with microscopes between viewing cells at a sufficient spatial resolution while still keeping a large field of view to capture unique specimens has impeded these investigations. Scientists frequently spend several minutes scouring slides for the perfect cells to analyze. A new optical imaging system offers a solution.
The new device can catch an incredible number of cells in a single snapshot – up to a million cells at once. The team of scientists that developed the system effortlessly witnessed extremely rare, “one-in-a-million” occurrences by combining an ultra-high pixel camera with a large lens. The new research gives a valuable technique for simultaneously observing centimeter-scale dynamics of multicellular populations with micrometer resolution to view individual cell functions.
Conventional biological microscopes have a field of view of only a few millimeters and can only observe a maximum of 1,000 cells. The new setup uses machine vision powered by a high-pixel camera with a macro lens. The team made the optical imaging system with a 120-megapixel camera and a telecentric macro lens.