Various optical sectioning techniques have provided pathologists and clinicians with some ability to image biological samples non-invasively at or below a surface such as skin. The currently used structured illumination microscopy (SIM) method has advantages over confocal microscopy as it achieves sectioning at depth by removing undesired light from out-of-focus planes within a specimen. However, it generally requires at least three modulated images with discrete phase shifts of 0, 120, and 240 deg to produce sectioning, making in vivo imaging difficult. Hence, there is a need for a single imaging technique.


Technology Overview

Researchers at Northeastern University have designed an optical device using Hilbert transform demodulation to produce both sectioning and depth information relative to a reference plane (e.g. coverslip) using only a single image. This device produces a high-quality sectioned image containing both axial and lateral information of an object. 

The process of imaging consists of:

  • Taking a single modulated image of the sample
  • Estimation and subtraction of out-of-focus light from the original image
  • Reservation of modulated sectioned image
  • Demodulation of the image



  • The device reduces:
    • Image acquisition time to 1/3rd of the previously required time
    • Noise and stray light
    • Complexity and cost of image processing
  • Increases robustness in turbid media as the imaging is not phase-dependent
  • Produces better contrast with a single image within turbid media than the traditional 3-image SIM technique



  • Biological imaging within turbid media (subdermal) such as-
    • Skin cancer diagnosis, tumor margin examination
    • In vivo imaging
    • Biomedical imaging for better diagnosis e.g. in ophthalmology 
  • Quality control of manufactured products by topological imaging



  • License
  • Partnering
  • Research collaboration
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Dormant Physical
Northeastern University
Charles DiMarzio
Zachary Hoffman