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Title: Design of a dynamic biofilm imaging cell for white-light interferometric microscopy

In microbiology research there is a strong need for next generation imaging and sensing instrumentation that will enable minimally invasive and label-free investigation of soft, hydrated structures such as in bacterial biofilms. White light interferometry (WLI) can provide high resolution images of surface topology without the use of fluorescent labels but is not typically used to image biofilms because there is insufficient refractive index contrast to induce reflection from the biofilm’s interface. The soft structure and water-like bulk properties of hydrated biofilms make them difficult to characterize in situ, especially in a non-destructive manner. In this report, we build on our prior description of static biofilm imaging and describe the design of a dynamic imaging flow cell that enables monitoring the thickness and topology of live biofilms over time using a WLI microscope. The microfluidic system is specifically designed to create a reflective interface on the surface of biofilms while minimizing disruption of fragile structures. The imaging cell was also designed to accommodate limitations imposed by the depth of focus of the microscope’s objective lens. Example images of live biofilm samples are shown in order to illustrate the ability of the flow cell and WLI instrument to 1) support bacterialmore » growth and biofilm development, 2) image biofilm structure that reflects growth in flow conditions, and 3) monitor biofilm development over time non-destructively. In future work, the apparatus described here will enable surface metrology measurements (roughness, surface area, etc.) of biofilms and may be used to observe changes in biofilm structure in response to changes in environmental conditions (e.g., flow velocity, availability of nutrients, and presence of biocides). Furthermore, this development will open new opportunities for the use of WLI in bioimaging.« less
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  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0091-3286
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Optical Engineering
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 56; Journal Issue: 11; Journal ID: ISSN 0091-3286
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; 47 OTHER INSTRUMENTATION; white light interferometry; biofilm; bacteria; non-destructive; imaging; flow cell; roughness
OSTI Identifier: