Digital holographic microscopy for the cytomorphological imaging of cells under zero gravity
Digital holographic microscopy (DHM) has been gaining interest from cell biology community because of its label free nature and quantitative phase signal output. Besides, fast shutter time, image reconstruction by numerical propagation of the wave fields, and numerical compensation of the aberrations are other intrinsic advantages of this technique that can be explored for harsh imaging conditions. In the frame of this work, a transmission type DHM is developed with a decoupled epifluorescence microscopy mode for cytomorphological monitoring under zero gravity and hyper gravity. With the implemented automatic post processing routines, real time observation of the cell morphology is proven to be feasible under the influence of mechanical disturbances of zero gravity platforms. Post processing of holograms is composed from dynamic numerical compensation of holograms, robust autofocusing and phase image registration. Experiments on live myoblast cells are carried out on two different platforms; random positioning machine (RPM), a ground base microgravity simulation platform, and parabolic flight campaign (PFC), a fixed wing plane flight providing short durations of alternating gravity conditions. Results show clear perinuclear phase increase. During seconds scale microgravity exposure, measurable scale morphological modifications are observed with the accumulated effect of repetitive exposures and short breaks.