Smartphone attachment lets smartphones image DNA

Researchers from the University of California, LA also known as UCLA have developed a new device that is able to turn any ,a href="">smartphone into a DNA scanning fluorescent microscope. This microscope allows a smartphone to image DNA, which is about 50,000 times thinner than a single human hair.

Typically very bulky and expensive optical microscopy tools are needed to image DNA and those tools are limited to laboratory settings. The components used in the smartphone accessory are much cheaper and much smaller.

UCLA HHMI Chancellor Professor Aydogan Ozcan says that the attachment he and his team have invented has an external lens, thin-film interference filter, mini dovetail stage mount for fine alignment, and a laser diode. All of those parts are enclosed in a 3D printed case.

There are other microscope attachments for smartphones, but this is the fist that can image material as small as a single DNA molecule. The team invented the device to be used in labs for detecting cancers and disorders of the nervous system. The microscope accessory has a computational interface and Windows smart app that runs on the device. The information scanned by the device is sent to a server in the lab to measure the length of the DNA molecule. With a reliable data connection, the process takes about ten seconds.

SOURCE: Eurekalert