Precision motion tracking thousands of cells at a time

Researchers at UCLA and Nanjing University of Science and Technology in China have developed a new way to observe and track large numbers of rapidly moving objects under a microscope, capturing precise motion paths in three dimensions.
The researchers followed an unprecedented 24,000 rapidly moving cells over wide fields of view and through large sample volumes, recording each cell’s path for as long as 20 seconds.
“We can very precisely track the motion of small things, more than a thousand of them at the same time, in parallel,” says research lead and National Science Foundation CAREER awardee Aydogan Ozcan, an electrical engineering and bioengineering professor at UCLA.
“We were able to achieve sub-micron accuracy over a large volume, allowing us to understand, statistically, how thousands of objects move in different ways.”
The researchers used offset beams of red and blue light to create holographic information that, when processed using sophisticated software, accurately reveal the paths of objects moving under a microscope.