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A Smart Palm-size Optofluidic Hematology Analyzer enables home monitoring of health status

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Figure 1 Principle and construction of the Palm-size Optofluidic Hematology Analyzer. (a) The photograph and model diagrams of the Palm-size Optofluidic Hematology Analyzer. (b) The model diagram of a miniature fluorescence microscope. (c) The optical path design of a miniature fluorescence microscope. (d) Results of the USAF target at various axial positions imaged by the miniature fluorescence microscope. Z stands for object distance. (e) The lateral resolution of miniature fluorescence microscope as a function of object distance. (f) The model diagram of the designed microfluidic chip with top and front views of the profiles. Scale bar: 100 μm.

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Credit: OES

A new publication from Opto-Electronic Science; DOI  10.29026/oes.2023.230018 discusses a smart palm-size optofluidic hematology analyzer.


The deviations in blood cell concentration beyond reasonable ranges may indicate the presence of certain diseases within the body. For example, infections, inflammatory, malignant blood diseases, and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) can cause abnormalities in the concentration of leukocytes. Therefore, the detection of blood cell concentration contributes to the diagnosis, treatment, and prognostic management of certain diseases. However, conventional methods for assessing blood cell concentration, such as using a hemocytometer, require the combination with an optical microscope. On the other hand, the flow cytometers allow high-throughput, accurate, and rapid sorting and counting of blood cells in fluids. However, commercial flow cytometers are sophisticated and bulky with roughly 9-30 kg in mass. As a result, the two corresponding equipment are often used in laboratories and hospitals, hindering the spread of point-of-care testing (POCT) and delaying patient’s treatments. Therefore, the development of a portable smart blood cell analyzer holds significant importance and promising prospects.


The authors of this article propose a Smart Palm-size Optofluidic Hematology Analyzer for automated imaging-based leukocyte concentration detection. Conventional methods for blood cell concentration detection, such as the flow cytometer, face limitations due to their bulky and heavy nature, restricting their use in hospital or laboratory settings. This constraint hinders the widespread adoption of point-of-care testing (POCT), particularly in underdeveloped regions like rural areas. In this paper, the research group proposes a Palm-size Optofluidic Hematology analyzer based on a miniature fluorescence microscope commonly employed in neuroscience and behavioral research and a microfluidic platform to lighten the device to improve its portability. This gadget has a dimension of 35 × 30 × 80 mm and a mass of 39 g, less than 5% of the weight of commercially available flow cytometers. Additionally, intelligent leukocyte information enhancement and concentration detection have been realized through the integration of image processing and leukocyte counting algorithms. They compared the leukocyte concentration measurement between our approach and a hemocytometer using the Passing-Bablok analysis and achieved a correlation coefficient of 0.979. Through Bland-Altman analysis, they obtained the relationship between their differences and mean measurement values and established 95% limits of agreement, ranging from -0.93×103 to 0.94×103 cells/μL. Moreover, in comparison to a conventional hemocytometer, this device demonstrates an error in calculating leukocyte concentration of less than 10%, aligning with the accuracy requirements specified by the UK National External Quality Assessment Service (NEQAS) and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA-88).


Palm-size Optofluidic Hematology Analyzer allows POCT of patients’ blood cells away from the hospital or laboratory environment and enhances medical diagnosis in remote or deprived areas. In addition, performing blood cell counts by astronauts in space environments holds significant importance in the fields of radiation biology and microgravity biology. However, in such resource-limited and energy-intensive environments, the use of conventional equipment requiring chemical fuels and occupying substantial space significantly increases costs. In this context, the development of the Palm-size Optofluidic Hematology Analyzer offers a potential solution by addressing the issues of volume and weight.


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Weisong Zhao, Assistant Professor, Principal Investigator, Microscopist, and Data Scientist at School of Instrumentation Science and Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT). He received his B.S. in Physics and Ph.D. in Super-resolution Microscopy from the HIT, in 2017 and 2022, respectively. His lab is building advanced optical microscopy for biomedical applications, as well as developing smart algorithms across modalities including optical microscopy, acoustic/photoacoustic imaging, and cryo-EM/ET. He has published first- and corresponding-authored journal papers in Nature Biotechnology and Nature Photonics, etc. He also serves as a reviewer of Nature Methods, etc., and an associate editor of npj Imaging | published by Nature. He has authorized/applied more than 20 Chinese invention patents and PCT international patents. Website:


Deer Su, PhD Candidate, School of Instrumentation Science and Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology. He is mainly involved in light-field imaging technology and its biomedical applications, focusing on 3D endoscopic imaging systems, miniaturized imaging/detection devices, and computational optics, and has published papers in “Optics Letters”, “Opto-Electronic Science” and other journals as the first author.

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Opto-Electronic Science (OES) is a peer-reviewed, open access, interdisciplinary and international journal published by The Institute of Optics and Electronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences as a sister journal of Opto-Electronic Advances (OEA, IF=9.682). OES is dedicated to providing a professional platform to promote academic exchange and accelerate innovation. OES publishes articles, reviews, and letters of the fundamental breakthroughs in basic science of optics and optoelectronics.

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Su DE, Li XY, Gao WD, Wei QH, Li HY et al. Smart palm-size optofluidic hematology analyzer for automated imaging-based leukocyte concentration detection. Opto-Electron Sci 2, 230018 (2023). doi: 10.29026/oes.2023.230018 

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