Phase mask assisted single-objective oblique plane microscopy

Optical microscopy is one of the most powerful methods in the biologist’s toolbox. Using the many different contrast mechanisms provided by light in the optical regime, biological questions can be addressed with sub-cellular resolution across volumes on the scale of millimeters. Fluorescence microscopy techniques in particular are a critical tool, enabling scientists to ask and answer questions not only about the structure of biological systems, but also about their function, using probes such as genetically encoded fluorescent sensors of neural activity. The goal of this project is to expand the reach of oblique plane microscopy by leveraging diffractive optics and computation to lower the cost and dramatically simplify the fundamental architecture of oblique plane light-sheet optical microscopy systems, while maintaining subcellular resolution and rapid 3D imaging performance.

Name of research group, project, or lab
The Harvey Mudd Biophotonics Lab
Why join this research group or lab?

As a member of the HMC Biophotonics Lab you will join a passionate group of budding researchers exploring the field of biophotonics and connecting your existing knowledge to generate new ideas. This project will help to create low-cost, compact, and reconfigurable optical microscopes which can be used for a variety of applications including laboratory imaging for diagnostics and for education.

In addition to this project, there are other efforts in the lab to develop optical tools to focus light deep into tissue by counteracting the scattering effect of biological tissue.

Logistics Information:
Project categories
Computer Science
Biomedical Engineering
Student ranks applicable
Student qualifications

This research is accessible to all academic levels and requires only some introductory physics and computer programming to start. The following skills are helpful but not required:

  • CS Coursework: CS5, CS60, CS70, CS144/MATH164
  • Engineering Coursework: E79; E85
  • Physics Coursework: Ph51, Ph57c, Ph134, Ph151
  • Programming Experience: Python, Matlab, C

The most important qualifications are a curious and can-do attitude and the willingness to try, fail, and try again.

Time commitment
Fall - Part Time
Spring - Part Time
Academic Credit
Number of openings
Techniques learned
  • Fundamental microscopy concepts
  • Fourier Optics
  • Computational microscopy
  • Computational imaging algorithms
Contact Information:
Mentor name
Josh Brake
Mentor email
Mentor position
Principal Investigator
Name of project director or principal investigator
Prof. Josh Brake
Email address of project director or principal investigator
2 sp. | 6 appl.
Hours per week
Fall - Part Time (+1)
Fall - Part TimeSpring - Part Time
Project categories
Computer Science (+3)
Computer ScienceEngineeringBiomedical EngineeringOptics