We show that applying the Laplace operator to a speckle-free quantitative phase image reveals an unprecedented level of detail in cell structure, without the gradient artifacts associated with differential interference contrast microscopy, or photobleaching and phototoxicity limitations common in fluorescence microscopy. This method, referred to as Laplace phase microscopy, is an efficient tool for tracking vesicles and organelles in living cells. The principle is demonstrated by tracking organelles in cardiomyocytes and vesicles in neurites of hippocampal neurons, which to our knowledge are the first label-free diffusion measurements of the organelles in such cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number026019
JournalJournal of biomedical optics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Interference microscopy
  • Intrinsic particle tracking
  • Phase measurement
  • Quantitative phase imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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