Nonlinear Imaging Histopathology: A Pipeline to Correlate Gold-Standard Hematoxylin and Eosin Staining With Modern Nonlinear Microscopy

Kayvan Forouhesh Tehrani, Jaena Park, Eric J. Chaney, Haohua Tu, Stephen A. Boppart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining, the century-old technique, has been the gold standard tool for pathologists to detect anomalies in tissues and diseases such as cancer. H&E staining is a cumbersome, time-consuming process that delays and wastes precious minutes during an intraoperative diagnosis. However, even in the modern era, real-time label-free imaging techniques such as simultaneous label-free autofluorescence multi-harmonic (SLAM) microscopy have delivered several more layers of information to characterize a tissue with high precision. Still, they have yet to translate to the clinic. The slow translation rate can be attributed to the lack of direct comparisons between the old and new techniques. Our approach to solving this problem is to: 1) reduce dimensions by pre-sectioning the tissue in 500 μm slices, and 2) produce fiducial laser markings which appear in both SLAM and histological imaging. High peak-power femtosecond laser pulses enable ablation in a controlled and contained manner. We perform laser marking on a grid of points encompassing the SLAM region of interest. We optimize laser power, numerical aperture, and timing to produce axially extended marking, hence multilayered fiducial markers, with minimal damage to the surrounding tissues. We performed this co-registration over an area of 3 × 3 mm2 of freshly excised mouse kidney and intestine, followed by standard H&E staining. Reduced dimensionality and the use of laser markings provided a comparison of the old and new techniques, giving a wealth of correlative information and elevating the potential of translating nonlinear microscopy to the clinic for rapid pathological assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6800608
JournalIEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Histopathology
  • hematoxylin and eosin staining
  • label-free microscopy
  • multi-photon
  • nonlinear microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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