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Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences

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Microscopes -- Digital Holographic


In the study of microbial life, microscopy plays a unique role due to its ability to detect ordered structure, motility, and fluorescence signals. As such it has also recently gained attention in the context of searching for extant life on distant Solar System bodies bearing liquid water. In this paper we introduce a multimodal volumetric microscopy system for potential future spaceflight missions that combines digital holographic microscopy (DHM) and volume fluorescence imager (VFI), which are volumetric imaging methods that provide highresolution, high-throughput examination of liquid samples. DHM provides information on the absorption, morphology, and motility of imaged objects without requiring the use of contrast agents. On the other hand, VFI based on light field microscopy focuses on the fluorescence signals from the sample to observe specific structures dyed with targeted contrast agents or providing unique autofluorescence signals. We also present an autonomous sample handling and data acquisition system to allow for an autonomous mission to distant planets or moons, or for autonomous use in bodies of water on Earth. The full system, named ELVIS, or Extant Life Volumetric Imaging System, is capable of autonomously surveying a liquid sample to extract morphology, motility, and fluorescence signals of extant microbial life.


COPYRIGHT © 2022 Kim, Oborny, Serabyn, Wallace, Liewer, Bedrossian, Rider, Noell, Willis, Lindensmith and Nadeau. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.



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