Optronic helps develop new holographic equipment

Article posted 19 Nov 2015

Optronic and Phase Holographic Imaging (PHIAB), a world leader in non-invasive live cell imaging, strengthens their mutual collaboration. With the development and launch of additional equipment – a motorized stage – PHIAB:s imaging time-laps cytometer HoloMonitor M4 is allowed to record at multiple locations, in parallel.

PHIAB leads the groundbreaking development of time-lapse cytometry instrumentation and software. With the first instrument introduced in 2011, the company today offers a range of products for long-term quantitative analysis of living cell dynamics that circumvent the drawbacks of traditional methods requiring toxic stains.

Currently, most cell imaging is carried out by using additives that affect a live sample in ways that often makes it unusable for further analysis. With digital holography, researchers can analyze cells without damaging them for further use.

“Our analysis is non-destructible of live cells, which means that reactions to drugs and modulation of gene expressions are areas where the quality of testing can be improved with digital holography,” explains Mikael Sebesta, head of research and development at PHIAB.

The technology is a revolutionary way for studying cellular dynamics in real time and among fields that can benefit from it cancer research, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, stem cell biology, gene therapy, regenerative medicine and toxicological studies.

Optronic has been a partner to PHIAB since 2011, manufacturing instruments and providing with the company’s cutting edge expertis in optoelectronics, which is essential for the digital holography technology. To date over 80 HoloMonitor units have been sold and delivered.

”Our core competence lies in cell analysis and digital holography which are obviously key areas to develop further. But we also needed to develop cost effective and reliable products and teamed up with Optronic, in order to benefit from their competence”, explains Sebesta.

It’s this collaboration that has led to the development of the optional high precision motorized stage. With it HoloMonitor M4 is able to record time-lapse movies at multiple locations, in parallel. Sample locations may be within the same culture or in different cultures. The stage control software is fully integrated in the proprietary HoloMonitor software – HoloStudio. After sample locations have been graphically programmed, time-lapse movies will be automatically recorded at each location.

To further reduce the risk of damaging the sample the M4 instrument is designed to work in a cell culture incubator.
”A cell culture incubator has a controlled climate at 37 degrees Celcius and a relative humidity of up to 100 percent. The biggest challenge was to develop equipment that stands the test of the environment in a cell incubator. It’s not ideal for this kind of equipment, and it has required a lot of development efforts to make things work”, says Sebesta.