Low-cost fluorescence adapter for standard light microscopes in resource-limited sites



Fluorescence microscopy is an essential tool for biomedical research to visualize cells and their internal organelle structures that are not detectable with a standard light microscope. The typical cost of a basic fluorescence microscope is $100,000+ making it prohibitively expensive for primary care clinics, hospitals, secondary education institutions (high school level), and certain research facilities/labs. The current standard practice for primary healthcare facilities is to send patient samples to a tertiary facility which is expensive and delays patient results (days-weeks). Educational and research facilities that cannot afford a fluorescence microscope will pay fees to a core facility to use their equipment for a limited time (hours). Within this project, we developed a low-cost adaptor device that converts a standard light microscope (found in almost any clinic or science class) to a fluorescence microscope. This was done by using 3D Stereolithography (SLA) printing technology, a simple circuit, and high-frequency LEDs to reproduce a specific fluorescent signal across biological samples that is comparable to more expensive fluorescent microscopes. This project has the potential to provide high-end and previously inaccessible technology to clinics/hospitals, educational institutions, and research facilities. Additionally, it will enable the early introduction of a valuable research tool to high-school-level students for preparation for careers in STEM.

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Colin Bill
Interesting and very useful presentation. Having watched the video and read your poster, I am not sure how your 3D plastic works. What are the key components that allows you to change LED light to specific wavelengths to allow for fluorescence microscopy? What range of wavelengths are possible compared to a typical fluorescent microscope?
Pedro Hernandez
To be more specific, the 3D printed polymer serves as a holder for the LEDs and helps focus the light to go through the microscope platform to illuminate the sample. The LEDs we used for this project emit a light that has a wavelength of 450 nm -500 nm. Because the LEDs emit a light with this wavelength, they can excite fluorophores that have an excitation of 488 nm to fluoresce with an emission wavelength around 550 nm
Pedro Hernandez
The blue LED activates the fluorophore stain that absorbs light over a narrow range of wavelength which is the blue light from the LED, it then re-emits another wavelength of light ! The sample was stained with RED fluorophores so that is the light that was re-emitted.

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