Wide-Field Imaging Of Birefringent Crystals In Synovial Fluid Using Lens-Free Polarized Microscopy For Crystal Arthropathy Diagnosis

Tech ID: 27516 / UC Case 2016-848-0


UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering have developed a new diagnostic tool for arthropathic diseases, such as gout.


Conventionally, the diagnosis of gout relies on the observation of monosodium urate (MSU) crystals in synovial fluid aspirated from the joint of the patient and then examined under a compensated polarized light microscope (CPLM). The MSU crystals form an essential component of clinical gout and can aggregate to clinically palpable collections in or around joints. The detection of these crystals by optical microscopy is enhanced by their birefringent properties. However, CPLM partially suffers from the high cost and bulkiness of conventional lens-based microscopes, and more critically, its relatively small field-of-view (FOV) greatly limits the efficiency and accuracy of gout diagnosis.


UCLA researchers led by Prof. Aydogan Ozcan have developed a lens-free polarized microscopy technique which adopts a novel differential and angle-mismatched polarizing optical design achieving wide-field and high-resolution holographic imaging of birefringent objects with a similar color contrast as in standard CPLM. The design features a wide field of view of >20 mm2 in addition to cost-effectiveness and field-portability, it can largely improve the efficiency and accuracy of the current diagnostic methods.


  • Improve the efficiency and accuracy of the current diagnostic methods
  • Reduce healthcare costs, and can be deployed at the point of care and in resource-limited settings

Related Materials

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Published Application 20190137932 05/09/2019 2016-848


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  • Ozcan, Aydogan

Other Information


Gout, holographic imaging, birefringent properties, birefringence, on-chip microscopy, imaging, on-chip diagnostics, wide field of view, synovial fluid crystals, compensated polarized light microscope (CPLM), monosodium urate

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