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3D lens-free imaging of 3D cell culture

Abstract : This PhD work is at the interface of two fields: 3D cell culture and lens-free imaging.Providing a more realistic cell culture protocol on the physiological level, switching from single-layer (2D) cultures to three-dimensional (3D) cultures - via the use of extracellular gel in which cells can grow in three dimensions - is at the origin of several breakthroughs in several fields such as developmental biology, oncology and regenerative medicine. The study of these new 3D structures creates a need in terms of 3D imaging.On another side, 2D lens-free imaging provides a robust, inexpensive, non-labeling and non-toxic tool to study cell cultures in two dimensions over large scales and over long periods of time. This type of microscopy records the interferences produced by a coherent light scattered by the biological sample. Knowing the physics of the light propagation, these holograms are retro-propagated numerically to reconstruct the unknown object. The reconstruction algorithm replaces the absent lenses in the role of image formation.The aim of this PhD is to show the possibility of adapting this lens-free technology for imaging 3D cell culture. New lens-free microscopes are designed and built along with the development of dedicated tomographic reconstruction algorithms.Concerning the prototypes, several solutions are tested to finally converge to a scheme combining two conditions. The first requirement is the choice of simplicity of use with a cell culture in standard Petri dish and requiring no specific preparation or change of container. The second condition is to find the best possible angular coverage of lighting angles in regards of the geometric constraint imposed by the first requirement. Finally, an incubator-proof version is successfully built and tested.Regarding the algorithms, four major types of solutions are implemented, all based on the Fourier diffraction theorem, conventionally used in optical diffractive tomography. All methods aim to correct two inherent problems of a lens-free microscope: the absence of phase information, the sensor being sensitive only to the intensity of the incident wave, and the limited angular coverage. The first algorithm simply replaces the unknown phase with that of an incident plane wave. However, this method is fast but it is the source of many artifacts. The second solution tries to estimate the missing phase by approximating the unknown object by an average plane and uses the tools of the 2D lens-free microscopy to recover the missing phase in an inverse problem approach. The third solution consists in implementing a regularized inverse problem approach on the 3D object to reconstruct. This is the most effective method to deal with the two problems mentioned above but it is very slow. The fourth and last solution is based on a modified Gerchberg-Saxton algorithm with a regularization step on the object.All these methods are compared and tested successfully on numerical simulations and experimental data. Comparisons with conventional microscope acquisitions show the validity of the reconstructions in terms of shape and positioning of the retrieved objects as well as the accuracy of their three-dimensional positioning. Biological samples are reconstructed with volumes of several tens of cubic millimeters, inaccessible in standard microscopy.Moreover, 3D time-lapse data successfully obtained in incubators show the relevance of this type of imaging by highlighting large-scale interactions between cells or between cells and their three-dimensional environment.
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 5, 2018 - 11:05:09 AM
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Anthony Berdeu. 3D lens-free imaging of 3D cell culture. Optics / Photonic. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017GREAS036⟩. ⟨tel-01723235v2⟩

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