Quantitative phase imaging (QPI) in neuroscience

Chenfei Hu, Gabriel Popescu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quantitative phase imaging (QPI) is an emerging label-free modality that attracts significant interest in biomedicine in general and neuroscience in particular. Based on the principle of interferometry, QPI precisely maps the optical pathlength induced by the sample, and, thus, can visualize extremely transparent samples. The QPI field has grown rapidly in the past decade, and reliable instruments have been developed for in-depth biological studies. One particular figure of merit associated with QPI techniques describes the temporal phase sensitivity of instruments. Recently, several common path interferometry methods have been developed, which yield high stability and nanometer scale pathlength sensitivity. In neuroscience, QPI has shown unique capabilities in quantifying neural growth and dynamics in cell cultures, as well as high contrast imaging of brain tissue slices. In this paper, we review the principles of QPI, novel QPI technology, advances in data processing, and a number of exciting applications in neuroscience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8458413
JournalIEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Biomedical optical imaging
  • microscopy
  • neuroscience
  • phase measurement
  • quantitative phase imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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