Advanced Photonics, Volume. 3, Issue 4, 044001(2021)

Review of bio-optical imaging systems with a high space-bandwidth product

Jongchan Park1, David J. Brady2, Guoan Zheng3,4, Lei Tian5, and Liang Gao1,*
Author Affiliations
  • 1University of California, Department of Bioengineering, Los Angeles, California, United States
  • 2University of Arizona, James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences, Tucson, Arizona, United States
  • 3University of Connecticut, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Storrs, Connecticut, United States
  • 4University of Connecticut, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Storrs, Connecticut, United States
  • 5Boston University, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
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    Optical imaging has served as a primary method to collect information about biosystems across scales—from functionalities of tissues to morphological structures of cells and even at biomolecular levels. However, to adequately characterize a complex biosystem, an imaging system with a number of resolvable points, referred to as a space-bandwidth product (SBP), in excess of one billion is typically needed. Since a gigapixel-scale far exceeds the capacity of current optical imagers, compromises must be made to obtain either a low spatial resolution or a narrow field-of-view (FOV). The problem originates from constituent refractive optics—the larger the aperture, the more challenging the correction of lens aberrations. Therefore, it is impractical for a conventional optical imaging system to achieve an SBP over hundreds of millions. To address this unmet need, a variety of high-SBP imagers have emerged over the past decade, enabling an unprecedented resolution and FOV beyond the limit of conventional optics. We provide a comprehensive survey of high-SBP imaging techniques, exploring their underlying principles and applications in bioimaging.


    1 Introduction

    Information requirements in bio-optical imaging are ever increasing. This demand is due to the landscape shift in contemporary biology, from morphological explorations and phenotypic probing of organisms, to an ongoing search for quantitative insights into underlying mechanisms at cellular and molecular levels. For example, observing large-scale neuronal activities of a brain1 requires an imaging system with subcellular resolution within a field-of-view (FOV) that encompasses the whole brain. To image a whole mouse brain of 500-mm3 volume with 1-μm resolution requires 500 billion spatial samplings, an enormous quantity that is far beyond the acquisition bandwidth of most current imaging systems.


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    Jongchan Park, David J. Brady, Guoan Zheng, Lei Tian, Liang Gao. Review of bio-optical imaging systems with a high space-bandwidth product[J]. Advanced Photonics, 2021, 3(4): 044001

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    Paper Information

    Category: Reviews

    Received: Jan. 26, 2021

    Accepted: May. 27, 2021

    Published Online: Jun. 29, 2021

    The Author Email: Gao Liang (



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