Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

A Compact Lens Array System

Technology #5745

Researchers at the University of Michigan, as part of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department have developed a low-cost, high-resolution and portable microscope system for biological imaging and analysis. Optical microscopy is the standard used for biological system visualization as well as identification, diagnosis and monitoring of many diseases including sickle-cell disease, malaria, and tuberculosis. High-end optical systems with submicron resolution generally used for these analyses rely on multi-element objective lenses that are expensive and bulky. These constraints limit their use outside of the lab and in clinics with insufficient financial resources. The research team’s technology integrates microfluidic capabilities coupled with microlens array technologies to realize a compact lab-on-chip form-factor for portable, low-cost analysis of biological samples with potential to affect many life-science applications.

Integrated Microlens Array for Microfluidic Lab-on-Chip

The researchers’ technology has demonstrated 0.7 µm resolution, or 72X, with a 0.8 numerical aperture. The system can be used in a stand-alone compact wireless microscope or integrated into a stereo microscope to achieve low-cost, high resolution imaging. Each lens possesses a 200 µm x 200 µm square viewing area, which has been used to image various biological systems and enables simultaneous high-resolution analysis across the entire array. Excellent agreement with conventional flow cytometry and compound-objective manual counting has been demonstrated using red blood cell counts, suggesting a robust platform for cell diagnostics and disease detection. Its microfluidic capacity enables a lab-on-chip platform that can realize diagnostics, including real-time monitoring of cell morphology within an incubator, conventional bulky microscopes cannot achieve. With many advantages and desirable capabilities, the microscopy platform has potential to augment many biological applications at a low-cost.


  • Cell counting
  • Field microscopy
  • Disease diagnostics
  • Incubator monitoring
  • High content screening


  • Low-cost
  • Portable microscope system
  • Can be used as add-on module to stereo microscope
  • High resolution – 0.7 µm
  • Large viewing area – 200 µm x 200 µm
  • High numerical aperture – 0.8