(19)
(11)EP 3 339 835 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
22.09.2021 Bulletin 2021/38

(21)Application number: 17209504.4

(22)Date of filing:  21.12.2017
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
G01N 15/14(2006.01)
G03H 1/08(2006.01)
G03H 1/04(2006.01)
(52)Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC):
G03H 2001/0883; G01N 15/1463; G03H 1/0866; G03H 2001/0447; G03H 1/0443; G01N 15/1429

(54)

METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR DETERMINING FEATURES OF OBJECTS IN A SUSPENSION

VERFAHREN UND SYSTEM ZUR BESTIMMUNG DER MERKMALE VON OBJEKTEN IN EINER SUSPENSION

PROCÉDÉ ET SYSTÈME PERMETTANT DE DÉTERMINER DES CARACTÉRISTIQUES D'OBJETS DANS UNE SUSPENSION


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 23.12.2016 EP 16206551

(43)Date of publication of application:
27.06.2018 Bulletin 2018/26

(73)Proprietor: miDiagnostics NV
3001 Leuven (BE)

(72)Inventor:
  • ZHOU, Lin
    3001 Leuven (BE)

(74)Representative: AWA Sweden AB 
P.O. Box 5117
200 71 Malmö
200 71 Malmö (SE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A2-2016/019324
US-B2- 8 660 312
  
  • S. B. KIM ET AL: "Lens-Free Imaging for Biological Applications", JOURNAL OF LABORATORY AUTOMATION, vol. 17, no. 1, 27 January 2012 (2012-01-27), pages 43-49, XP055310540, US ISSN: 2211-0682, DOI: 10.1177/2211068211426695
  • HONGDA WANG ET AL: "Computational out-of-focus imaging increases the space-bandwidth product in lens-based coherent microscopy", OPTICA, vol. 3, no. 12, 20 December 2016 (2016-12-20), page 1422, XP055465045, ISSN: 2334-2536, DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.3.001422
  • EUAN MCLEOD ET AL: "Unconventional methods of imaging: computational microscopy and compact implementations", REPORTS ON PROGRESS IN PHYSICS, INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS PUBLISHING, BRISTOL, GB, vol. 79, no. 7, 23 May 2016 (2016-05-23), page 76001, XP020305431, ISSN: 0034-4885, DOI: 10.1088/0034-4885/79/7/076001 [retrieved on 2016-05-23]
  
Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS



[0001] This application claims priority to European Application No. 16206551 titled "METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR DETERMINING FEATURES OF OBJECTS IN A SUSPENSION", filed December 23, 2016.

TECHNICAL FIELD



[0002] The description relates to a method and a system for determining features of objects in a suspension. More particularly, the description relates to a method and system for determining features of objects, such as small particles or cells, in a digital holography imaging arrangement.

BACKGROUND



[0003] Digital holography imaging has been used to simplify setups, for achieving a large field of view and eventually to avoid having a lens that may be expensive, sensitive to vibrations and has a need for alignment and re-alignment with the rest of the setup. Coherent light for illumination is traditionally used in digital holography imaging to get retraceable interference from the object or substance that is to be imaged. Light is diffracted by the illuminated object or substance and interferes with the reference light from the illumination source. This interference signal is captured by an image sensor. The sampled signal will not show an apparent image. The sampled signal, however, contains holographic information that may be used to numerically reconstruct an image plane corresponding to an image (in focus) produced with a lens system. The coherent light source may be naturally coherent as e.g. a laser or an incoherent light source combined with an aperture as e.g. an LED with a pin hole.

[0004] Digital holography may be performed with a lens for focusing purposes or done lens free. Lens free imaging has been used in biological applications for counting blood cells. A flow cytometer has traditionally been used as the standard diagnostics device for tests that rely on counting different types of blood cells. In a flow cytometer, a sample flows through a detection zone, typically one cell at a time, and cell properties are determined by an illumination and detection system. Using lens free imaging, a cheaper and more compact solution is achieved, suitable for lab on chip systems.

[0005] In one proposed system, a suspension with blood cells is guided through a flat channel on a chip. A light source illuminates the flow above the channel and an image sensor collect light underneath the channel. A simplified lens-free imaging technique without holographic reconstruction uses only the shadows of the cells passing the channel. This approach produces low quality image information compared to a holographic approach.

[0006] An alternative to this proposed solution would be to use a similar setup but with a traditional lens system. Focused images would then be obtained with more information than is available in the shadow images.

[0007] Other solutions are however known where digital holography imaging has been performed using holographic reconstruction to present an image corresponding to a focused image using a lens imaging system. These solutions are usually small and implemented on lab-on-chip systems. A problem with such systems has traditionally been that with a planar incident wave setup, the resolution in the reconstruction is insufficient to resolve the internal structure of the cells, making cell differential analysis a very challenging problem.

[0008] Another proposed system for counting particles in a suspension using digital holography imaging with a holographic approach uses a fiber optic cable as light source to resemble a light source with an aperture.

[0009] US 8660312 B2 discloses a method for computing depth sectioning of an object using a quantitative differential interference contrast device having a wavefront sensor with one or more structured apertures, a light detector and a transparent layer between the structured apertures and the light detector. The method comprises receiving light, by the light detector, through the one or more structured apertures. The method also measures the amplitude of an image wavefront, and measures the phase gradient in two orthogonal directions of the image wavefront based on the light. The method can then reconstruct the image wavefront using the amplitude and phase gradient. The method can then propagate the reconstructed wavefront to a first plane intersecting an object at a first depth. In one embodiment, the method propagates the reconstructed wavefront to additional planes and generates a three-dimensional image based on the propagated wavefronts.

[0010] S. B. KIM ET AL: "Lens-Free Imaging for Biological Applications",JOURNAL OF LABORATORY AUTOMATION, vol. 17, 27 January 2012, pages 43-49, discusses lens-free imaging for biological application, in particular digital in-line holography using coherent light.

SUMMARY



[0011] According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a method according to claim 1 for determining features of objects in a suspension, comprising: directing a wavefront of coherent radiation through a sample of objects in a suspension, capturing a pattern of interference between the wavefront of coherent radiation and a wavefront diffracted by the objects with an image sensor, determining the focal plane of at least one object where the object is in focus, numerically reconstructing a defocused image of the at least one object from the interference pattern in an image plane which is substantially parallel to the image sensor and in a plane with a predetermined offset from the focal plane, identifying at least one portion in the defocused image for each object corresponding to the at least one objects in the sample, and calculating from each of said portions at least one feature of the corresponding object.

[0012] According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a system according to claim 6 for determining features of objects in a suspension, comprising: a coherent radiation source adapted for directing a wavefront of coherent radiation through a sample of objects in the suspension; an image sensor adapted for capturing a pattern of interference between the wavefront of coherent adiation and a wavefront diffracted by the objects; and a calculation unit adapted for receiving the captured pattern of interference; determining the focal plane of at least one object where the object is in focus; numerically reconstructing a defocused image of the at least one object from the interference pattern in an image plane which is substantially parallel to the image sensor and in a plane with a predetermined offset from the focal plane; identifying at least one portion in the defocused image for each object corresponding to the at least one object in the sample; and calculating from each of said portions at least one feature of the corresponding object.

[0013] According to a third aspect of the invention, there is provided a computer program product according to claim 7 comprising computer program code means adapted for, in at least one image representing a pattern of interference between a wavefront of coherent radiation and a wavefront diffracted by at least one object, numerically reconstructing a defocused image of the at least one object from the interference pattern in an image plane with a predetermined offset from the focal plane where the object is in focus, identifying at least one portion in the defocused image for each object corresponding to the at least one object in the sample, and calculating from each of said portions at least one feature of the corresponding object, when said program is run on a computing device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0014] The above, as well as additional features and derived advantages, will be more fully appreciated by reference to the following illustrative and non-limiting detailed description of several embodiments described herein, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

Fig. 1a shows a schematic view of a lens free digital holography imaging setup.

Fig. 1b illustrates a digital reconstruction of an image in a setup according to Fig.1a.

Fig. 2a shows a schematic view of a digital holography imaging arrangement.

Fig. 2b illustrates a digitally reconstructed image as a result of using a digital holography imaging arrangement as in Fig. 2a.

Figs. 3a and 3b show a schematic view of de-focused digital holography imaging arrangements according to example embodiments.

Fig. 3c is a digitally reconstructed image as a result of using a de-focused digital holography imaging method and system according to example embodiments.

Fig. 4 shows a flow diagram of a method for determining features of objects in a suspension according to an example embodiment.

Fig. 5 shows a block diagram of a system for determining features of objects in a suspension according to an example embodiment.


DETAILED DESCRIPTION



[0015] The present description provides an improved method and system for determining features of objects in a suspension. According to exemplary embodiments the provided solution is fast and/or cheap while still enabling a high enough resolution to be able to determine features of one or a large number of objects in a sample.

[0016] According to an example embodiment the method comprises directing a wavefront of coherent radiation through a sample of objects in a suspension, capturing an interference pattern of the wavefront of coherent radiation with an image sensor after it has been diffracted by objects in the sample when the wavefront passed through the sample, numerically determining the focal plane of at least one object (i.e. where the object is in focus), and numerically reconstructing a de-focused image of the at least one object from the interference pattern in an image plane which is substantially parallel to the image sensor and with a predetermined offset from the focal plane. The method further comprises identifying at one or more portions in the defocused image corresponding to one or more objects in the sample, and calculating, from each of said portions, at least one feature of the corresponding object.

[0017] The method, according to exemplary embodiments, is advantageously more tolerant for depth errors since the gradient in the image with respect to the reconstruction depth is less sensitive if the image is reconstructed in a de-focused manner rather than when in focus.

[0018] It is also advantageous that the boundary or contour of an object in a de-focused reconstructed image covers more pixels. Since more pixels with information are obtained for each object, the feature extraction can be simplified.

[0019] According to an example, the determination of the focal plane of an object may be performed by conventional auto focus algorithms or any other suitable method for finding a focal plane of an object.

[0020] According to an example, the predetermined offset of the reconstructed defocused image to the focal plane may be set below or equal to a threshold value, or maximum distance, at which individual objects may overlap in the image plane. In that way the spreading of the information over the image sensor pixels may be utilized to a maximum.

[0021] The step of identifying portions in the image corresponding to individual objects in the sample may further comprise detecting boundaries of the individual objects. The portions of the defocused image may be extracted by defining an image region containing all pixels of the object. That image region may be a fixed sized with a fixed shape for all the objects, for example, but not limited to: square, rectangular, circular. Extracting portions in the defocused image for each object makes it easier to perform image analysis of an individual object, since each individual object in the defocused image may then be treated on its own.

[0022] The at least one feature may further be a standard deviation of the pixel values or a normalized pixel values of a portion in the defocused image corresponding to an individual object. This may by itself, or in combination with another feature, be used to identify, differentiate and/or classify the types of objects.

[0023] The at least one feature may further be a mean of the pixel values or normalized pixel values of a portion in the defocused image corresponding to an individual object. This may by itself, or in combination with another feature, be used to identify, differentiate and/or classify the types of objects in the suspension.

[0024] The at least one feature may further be an area of the object in the defocused image corresponding to an individual object. This may by itself, or in combination with another feature, be used to differentiate different object types in the suspension or just determining object size.

[0025] The at least one feature may further be a contrast of the pixel values of a portion in the defocused image corresponding to an individual cell. This may by itself, or in combination with another feature, be used to differentiate different object types in the suspension.

[0026] The at least one object may in one embodiment be a cell in a suspension of cells. Different cell types may be differentiated by determination of the features mentioned.

[0027] The method may further comprise classifying cells based on the at least one calculated feature. The features may be used to determine which type of cells are present in a suspension by using one or a combination if the mentioned features.

[0028] The present description also includes a system for determining features of objects in a suspension. According to an example embodiment the system comprises a coherent radiation source adapted for directing a wavefront of coherent radiation through a sample of objects in the suspension, and an image sensor adapted for capturing a pattern of interference between the wavefront of coherent radiation and a wavefront diffracted by the objects. The system further comprises a calculation unit adapted for receiving the captured pattern of interference; determining the focal plane of at least one object where the object is in focus; numerically reconstructing a defocused image of the at least one object from the interference pattern in an image plane which is substantially parallel to the image sensor and in a plane with a predetermined offset from the focal plane; identifying at least one portion in the defocused image for each object corresponding to the at least one object in the sample; and calculating from each of said portions at least one feature of the corresponding object.

[0029] The present description also includes a non claimed calculation device for identifying features of individual cells in a suspension. The calculation device comprises a receiver for receiving a recorded signal of the interference pattern corresponding to a wavefront of coherent radiation that has traveled through and interfered with a sample of cells in a suspension. The calculation device further comprises a calculation unit adapted to numerically determine a focal plane of at least one object using the interference pattern, and numerically reconstructing a defocused image of the at least one object from the interference pattern in an image plane which is substantially parallel to the image sensor and in a plane with a predetermined offset from the focal plane. The calculation unit is further adapted to identify portions in the defocused image corresponding to individual objects in the sample, and calculate from each of said portions at least one feature of the corresponding individual cell.

[0030] The present description also includes a computer program product comprising computer program code means adapted for, in at least one image representing a pattern of interference between a wavefront of coherent radiation and a wavefront diffracted by at least one object, numerically reconstructing a defocused image of the at least one object from the interference pattern in an image plane with a predetermined offset from the focal plane where the object is in focus, identifying at least one portion in the defocused image for each object corresponding to the at least one object in the sample, and calculating from each of said portions at least one feature of the corresponding object, when said program is run on a computer.

[0031] The present description also includes a memory module comprising said computer program.

[0032] The present description also includes a system for identifying features of individual cells in a suspension, comprising a radiation source adapted to direct a wavefront of coherent radiation through a sample of objects in a suspension, an image sensor adapted to sense an interference pattern of the wavefront of coherent radiation after it has been diffracted by objects when passing through the sample, and a calculation device as described above. The calculation device is in communication with the image sensor for receiving an image of said sensed interference pattern.

[0033] The present description also includes a computing arrangement or mobile apparatus comprising the calculation device as previously described herein, the computer program product as previously described herein or the computer readable storage medium or storage unit previously described herein. The computing arrangement may e.g. be a computer, a server, a plurality of servers or a data center. The mobile apparatus may e.g. be a mobile phone, a tablet or any other portable computer device.

[0034] Fig. 1a is a schematic view of a lab on a chip lens free digital holography imaging setup 1. In use, a fluidic channel 5 is filled with a suspension 2 with objects and arranged on top of an image sensor 3. The channel 5 is irradiated with coherent light 7 from a light source 4. The light will be diffracted by the objects in the suspension. The diffracted light is interfered with the reference light 7, and the interference pattern is collected by the image sensor 3. The collected data is communicated to a calculation device 6. The calculation device is configured to perform a method so as to reconstruct an image in an image plane from the holographic information contained in the interference pattern. The calculation device is further configured to perform a method for identifying features of individual cells.

[0035] Fig. 1b is a schematic view of a digital reconstruction of an image using a setup as shown in Fig. 1. Coherent light 7 is irradiating a fluid suspension 2 containing objects, such as particles or cells. An image sensor 3 is recording the interference between the reference light 7 and the light that has been diffracted by the particles in the suspension. The raw data will produce an image 11 containing holographic information of the suspension and the particles therein. The holographic information is used to numerically reconstruct an image 12 of the suspension in an image plane where the particles in the suspension are in focus.

[0036] Fig. 2a is a further schematic view of digital holography imaging arrangement. An image (as shown in Fig. 2b) is reconstructed at an image plane 9 where the particles in the suspension are in focus, with a reconstruction depth rd to the image sensor 3, that intersects the object 8.

[0037] Fig. 2b shows a reconstructed image of a suspension containing blood cells where the numerically reconstructed image plane intersects the cells in accordance with the setup of Fig. 2a. The numerically reconstructed image is produced to make the image as sharp as possible. As seen in the image, the cells are sharp with clear edges.

[0038] Fig. 3a is a schematic view of a de-focused digital holography imaging arrangement according to a first exemplary embodiment. The reconstruction image plane 9' is now set in a plane not intersecting the object, corresponding to an image where the object is completely out of focus. The image plane 9' is placed with a certain offset (off) to a focal plane 10 of the object 8 (for example, a focal plane 10 through the middle of the object 8) to make sure that the image plane 9' is completely out of focus, i.e. not intersecting the object 8.

[0039] Fig. 3b is a schematic view of a de-focused digital holography imaging arrangement according to a second exemplary embodiment. In this example, the image plane 9" is placed with a certain offset (off) to a focal plane 10 of the object 8 (for example, a focal plane 10 through the middle of the object 8) along the opposite direction compared to the image plane 9' of the embodiment of Fig. 3a.

[0040] Fig. 3c illustrates a reconstructed image using a de-focused digital holography imaging arrangement, in which the reconstruction image plane 9' is offset by 38 µm to the image plane 9 of Fig. 2a. As can be seen, the cells in Fig. 3c are blurry compared to the cells in the image of Fig. 2b, where the reconstructed image plane intersects the cells or is in focus. The blurry cells of Fig.3 also cover a greater area than the cells in the focused image of Fig. 2b, which will increase the area with valid information for each cell. Therefore, a de-focused digital holography imaging method, providing a reconstructed image that is reconstructed in a plane offset to a focused image plane, has the advantage that the measured signal for each individual cell will contain more information, since the de-focused image of a cell will cover more pixels on the image sensor.

[0041] According to an exemplary embodiment, the image from Fig. 2b, where an intersecting (focused) image plane is reconstructed, may be used as reference to determine the focal plane position and thereby determine a desired offset for a de-focused reconstructed image, but other ways of determining the focal plane 10 distance are possible.

[0042] De-focused digital holography imaging may be advantageously used for lab on chip systems which are miniaturized measurement systems for measurements on e.g. fluid suspension containing cells or particle objects where the cells or objects need to be detected, counted or diagnosed. The suspension could be, for example, urine, saliva, spinal fluid or blood. The image sensor may be only a few square millimeters in area and the fluid channel only a few millimeters wide. An image of a suspension with cells captured by the image sensor may contain thousands of individual cells.

[0043] An example method of de-focused digital holography imaging according to the present description will now be described with reference to Fig. 4. In a first step S1, a light source is used to direct a wavefront of coherent radiation through a sample of objects in a suspension. The radiation may, for example, come from a laser that produces radiation that is coherent or be produced by a LED and a pinhole aperture arrangement which will produce a partly coherent radiation. The coherent radiation will be diffracted by the objects in the suspension. The diffracted light will interfere with the illumination radiation and create an interference pattern that contains holographic information with imaging information from all of each individual objects in the suspension.

[0044] In a second step S2, the interference pattern is sensed by an image sensor. The sensor is placed on the other side of the suspension compared to the light source so that the sensor will record the interference pattern of the diffracted light that has passed through the sample. The image sensor may be a small digital image sensor with an area of only a few square millimeters. According to an embodiment, the image sensor has a resolution high enough to resolve single particles in a suspension containing millions of particles.

[0045] In a third step S3 the interference pattern that is captured by the image sensor is used to determine a focal plane of at least one particle in the suspension using the holographic information in the interference pattern. This step may be performed using a conventional auto-focus algorithm.

[0046] In a fourth step S4, a de-focused image is reconstructed in an image plane parallel to the wavefront of the radiation and located with a predetermined offset (e.g. perpendicular) to the focal plane. The focal plane determined in the third step S3 is used as a reference to set the offset and thereby how much out of focus the defocused image is set.

[0047] In a fifth step S5, at least one portion of the image that corresponds to an object is identified. The at least one portion could e.g. be identified by finding boundaries or contours in the image that define the edges of the objects in the image. Finding the boundaries may be performed using image analysis algorithms for finding edges in images or similar image analysis techniques. The image may comprise a plurality of objects and this step may comprise identifying a plurality of image portions, each corresponding to a different object.

[0048] In a sixth step S6, a feature is determined from information in the at least one identified portion corresponding to an object or from information in each identified portion corresponding to each of the objects. The feature may be used to classify the object in the suspension in desired ways. The feature could be the size of the object, the standard deviation of the signal from the portion corresponding to an object, a mean value of the signal from the object, an area an object, and/or a contrast value for the image data for an object. The features could by themselves or in combination be used to classify object types, cell types, size distribution and so on to make quantitative measurements of the distribution and contents of objects, as e.g. cells, in a suspension. One way to differentiate different object types is to plot the features in a diagram or histogram and find clusters of objects in the plot. According to an example, a cluster may be mapped to an object type or size through a calibration process done on known samples.

[0049] The method for determining features of objects in a suspension may be performed in a calculation device or module, such as a computer, a mobile computer device, a mobile smart phone or an apparatus with a hardware and/or software configuration comprising a receiver for receiving a recorded signal of an interference pattern from a suspension of objects, and a calculation unit capable of performing logical steps in accordance with the method. The method can be realized by means of a number of commands written as a computer program, and said computer program may be stored on a memory and executed by the calculation device. The calculation device may form part of a system further comprising a radiation source to irradiate a sample of objects in a suspension with coherent radiation and an image sensor to record an interference pattern from the diffraction of the coherent light in the sample.

[0050] Fig. 5 shows a schematic top view of a system 11 for determining features of objects in a suspension. A fluid channel 5, intended to be filled with a suspension with objects, is arranged on top of an image sensor 3. The channel 5 is irradiated with coherent light from a light source 4. When the channel 5 is filled with a suspension, the light from the light source 4 will be diffracted by the objects in the suspension. The diffracted light is then interfered with the illumination light from the light source 4, generating an interference pattern which will be subsequently collected by the image sensor 3. The collected data of the interference is communicated to a calculation device 6. The calculation device is configured to perform the method for determining features of objects in a suspension according to exemplary embodiment herein described.

[0051] The image sensor 3 may be, for example, an active pixel sensor, a charge-coupled device (CCD), a CMOS active pixel sensor, etc. The calculation device 6 may include a processor and a memory, which may be part of or separate from but in communication with, the processor. The memory can be, for example, a Random-Access Memory (RAM) (e.g., a dynamic RAM, a static RAM), a flash memory, a removable memory, and/or so forth. In some instances, instructions associated with performing the operations described herein (e.g., operate an image sensor, generate a reconstructed image) can be stored within the memory and/or a storage medium (which, in some embodiments, includes a database in which the instructions are stored) and the instructions are executed at the processor.

[0052] In some instances, the processor includes one or more modules and/or components. Each module/component executed by the processor can be any combination of hardware-based module/component (e.g., a field programmable gate array (FPGA), an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC), a digital signal processor (DSP)), software-based module (e.g., a module of computer code stored in the memory and/or in the database, and/or executed at the processor), and/or a combination of hardwareand software-based modules. Each module/component executed by the processor is capable of performing one or more specific functions/operations as described herein. In some instances, the modules/components included and executed in the processor can be, for example, a process, application, virtual machine, and/or some other hardware or software module/component. The processor can be any suitable processor configured to run and/or execute those modules/components. The processor can be any suitable processing device configured to run and/or execute a set of instructions or code. For example, the processor can be a general purpose processor, a central processing unit (CPU), an accelerated processing unit (APU), a fieldprogrammable gate array (FPGA), an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC), a digital signal processor (DSP), and/or the like.

[0053] Some instances described herein relate to a computer storage product with a non-transitory computer-readable medium (also can be referred to as a non-transitory processor-readable medium) having instructions or computer code thereon for performing various computer-implemented operations. The computer-readable medium (or processor-readable medium) is non-transitory in the sense that it does not include transitory propagating signals per se (e.g., a propagating electromagnetic wave carrying information on a transmission medium such as space or a cable). The media and computer code (also can be referred to as code) may be those designed and constructed for the specific purpose or purposes. Examples of non-transitory computer-readable media include, but are not limited to: magnetic storage media such as hard disks, floppy disks, and magnetic tape; optical storage media such as Compact Disc/Digital Video Discs (CD/DVDs), Compact Disc-Read Only Memories (CD-ROMs), and holographic devices; magneto-optical storage media such as optical disks; carrier wave signal processing modules; and hardware devices that are specially configured to store and execute program code, such as Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), Programmable Logic Devices (PLDs), Read-Only Memory (ROM) and Random-Access Memory (RAM) devices. Other instances described herein relate to a computer program product, which can include, for example, the instructions and/or computer code discussed herein.

[0054] Examples of computer code include, but are not limited to, micro-code or micro-instructions, machine instructions, such as produced by a compiler, code used to produce a web service, and files containing higher-level instructions that are executed by a computer using an interpreter. For example, instances may be implemented using Java, python/C++, .NET, or other programming languages (e.g., object-oriented programming languages) and development tools. Additional examples of computer code include, but are not limited to, control signals, encrypted code, and compressed code.


Claims

1. A method for determining features of objects in a suspension (2), comprising:

directing a wavefront of coherent radiation (7) through a sample of objects in a suspension (2);

capturing a pattern of interference, between the wavefront of coherent radiation (7) and a wavefront diffracted by the objects, with an image sensor (3);

determining the focal plane (10) of at least one object (8) where the object is in focus;

numerically reconstructing a defocused image of the at least one object from an interference pattern in a reconstruction image plane (9', 9") which is substantially parallel to the image sensor (3) and with a predetermined offset (off) from the focal plane (10) where the at least one object (8) is in focus;

identifying at least one portion in the defocused image corresponding to the at least one object (8) in the sample; and

calculating, from said at least one identified portion in the defocused image, at least one feature of the at least one object (8).


 
2. The method according to claim 1 wherein the offset (off) from the focal plane (10) is selected so that the object (8) in the defocused image covers more pixels than that object in a reconstructed image in the focal plane (10).
 
3. The method according to any preceding claim, wherein the offset (off) from the focal plane is below a maximum distance at which individual reconstructed objects (8) overlap in the image plane (9', 9").
 
4. The method according to any preceding claim, wherein the step of identifying at least one portion in the defocused image corresponding to the at least one object in the sample, comprises determining a portion around the at least one object.
 
5. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising classifying objects based on the at least one calculated feature.
 
6. A system (1) for determining features of objects in a suspension (2), comprising:

a coherent radiation source (4) configured for directing a wavefront of coherent radiation (7) through a sample of objects in the suspension (2);

an image sensor (3) configured for capturing a pattern of interference between the wavefront of coherent radiation (7) and a wavefront diffracted by the objects; and

a calculation unit (6) configured for:

receiving the captured pattern of interference;

determining a focal plane (10) of at least one object (8) where the object is in focus;

numerically reconstructing a defocused image of the at least one object from the interference pattern in a reconstruction image plane (9', 9") which is substantially parallel to the image sensor (3) and with a predetermined offset from the focal plane (10) where the at least one object (8) is in focus;

identifying at least one portion in the defocused image for the at least one object in the sample;

and calculating, from said at least one portion in the defocused image, at least one feature of the at least one object.


 
7. A computer program product comprising computer program code means adapted for, in at least one image
representing a pattern of interference between a wavefront of coherent radiation (7) and a wavefront diffracted by at least one object (8) in a sample:

numerically reconstructing a defocused image of the at least one object from the interference pattern in a reconstruction image plane (9', 9") with a predetermined offset (off) from the focal plane (10) where the at least one object is in focus,

identifying at least one portion in the defocused image for the at least one object in the sample, and

calculating, from said at least one portion in the defocused image, at least one feature of the at least one object,

when said program is run on a computing device.


 
8. A computer readable storage medium or memory storage unit comprising a computer program according to claim 7.
 
9. A computing arrangement or mobile apparatus comprising the computer program product according to claim 7 or the computer readable storage medium or storage unit according to claim 8.
 


Ansprüche

1. Verfahren zum Bestimmen von Merkmalen von Objekten in einer Suspension (2), umfassend:

Richten einer Wellenfront aus kohärenter Strahlung (7) durch eine Probe von Objekten in einer Suspension (2),

Erfassen eines Interferenzmusters zwischen der Wellenfront aus kohärenter Strahlung (7) und einer durch die Objekte gebeugten Wellenfront, mit einem Bildsensor (3) ;

Bestimmen der Brennebene (10) von mindestens einem Objekt (8), wo das Objekt fokussiert ist;

numerisches Rekonstruieren eines entfokussierten Bildes des mindestens einen Objekts aus einem Interferenzmuster in einer Rekonstruktionsbildebene (9', 9"), die im Wesentlichen parallel zu dem Bildsensor (3) verläuft und mit einem vorbestimmten Offset (off) von der Brennebene (10), wo das mindestens eine Objekt (8) fokussiert ist;

Identifizieren mindestens eines Abschnitts in dem entfokussierten Bild entsprechend dem mindestens einen Objekt (8) in der Probe; und

Berechnen anhand des mindestens einen identifizierten Abschnitts in dem defokussierten Bild mindestens eines Merkmals des mindestens einen Objekts (8) .


 
2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Offset (off) von der Brennebene (10) so gewählt wird, dass das Objekt (8) in dem defokussierten Bild mehr Pixel abdeckt als das Objekt in einem rekonstruierten Bild in der Brennebene (10) .
 
3. Verfahren nach einem vorhergehenden Anspruch, wobei das Offset (off) von der Brennebene unter einer maximalen Distanz ist, bei der individuelle rekonstruierte Objekte (8) in der Bildebene (9', 9") überlappen.
 
4. Verfahren nach einem vorhergehenden Anspruch, wobei der Schritt des Identifizierens von mindestens einem Abschnitt in dem defokussierten Bild entsprechend dem mindestens einen Objekt in der Probe das Bestimmen eines Abschnitts um das mindestens eine Objekt umfasst.
 
5. Verfahren nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, weiter umfassend das Klassifizieren von Objekten auf Basis des mindestens einen berechneten Merkmals.
 
6. System (1) zum Bestimmen von Merkmalen von Objekten in einer Suspension (2), umfassend:

eine Quelle (4) von kohärenter Strahlung ausgelegt zum Lenken einer Wellenfront von kohärenter Strahlung (7) durch eine Probe von Objekten in der Suspension (2);

einen Bildsensor (3) ausgelegt zum Aufnehmen eines Interferenzmusters zwischen der Wellenfront aus kohärenter Strahlung (7) und einer durch die Objekte gebeugten Wellenfront; und

eine Berechnungseinheit (6) ausgelegt zum:

Empfangen des aufgenommenen Interferenzmusters;

Bestimmen einer Brennebene (10) von mindestens einem Objekt (8), wo das Objekt fokussiert ist;

numerisches Rekonstruieren eines defokussierten Bilds des mindestens einen Objekts anhand des Interferenzmusters in einer Rekonstruktionsbildebene (9', 9"), die im Wesentlichen parallel zu dem Bildsensor (3) verläuft und mit einem vorbestimmten Offset von der Brennebene (10), wo das mindestens eine Objekt (8) fokussiert ist;

Identifizieren mindestens eines Abschnitts in dem defokussierten Bild für das mindestens eine Objekt in der Probe;

und Berechnen anhand des mindestens einen Abschnitts in dem defokussierten Bild mindestens eines Merkmals des mindestens einen Objekts.


 
7. Computerprogrammprodukt, umfassend Computerprogrammcodemittel ausgelegt zum, in mindestens einem Bild

Repräsentieren eines Interferenzmusters zwischen einer Wellenfront aus kohärenter Strahlung (7) und einer durch mindestens ein Objekt (8) in einer Probe gebeugten Wellenfront;

numerisches Rekonstruieren eines defokussierten Bilds des mindestens einen Objekts anhand des Interferenzmusters in einer Rekonstruktionsbildebene (9', 9") mit einem vorbestimmten Offset (off) von der Brennebene (10), wo das mindestens eine Objekt fokussiert ist,

Identifizieren mindestens eines Abschnitts in dem defokussierten Bild für das mindestens eine Objekt in der Probe; und

Berechnen anhand des mindestens einen Abschnitts in dem defokussierten Bild mindestens eines Merkmals des mindestens einen Objekts,

wenn das Programm auf einer Recheneinrichtung läuft.


 
8. Computerlesbares Ablagemedium oder Speicherablageeinheit umfassend ein Computerprogramm nach Anspruch 7.
 
9. Computeranordnung oder mobile Vorrichtung umfassend das Computerprogrammprodukt nach Anspruch 7 oder das computerlesbare Ablagemedium oder die computerlesbare Ablageeinheit nach Anspruch 8.
 


Revendications

1. Procédé pour déterminer des caractéristiques d'objets dans une suspension (2), comprenant les étapes suivantes :

diriger un front d'onde de rayonnement cohérent (7) à travers un échantillon d'objets dans une suspension (2) ;

capturer, avec un capteur d'image (3), un motif d'interférence entre le front d'onde de rayonnement cohérent (7) et un front d'onde diffracté par les objets ;

déterminer le plan focal (10) d'au moins un objet (8) où l'objet est focalisé ;

reconstruire numériquement une image défocalisée de l'au moins un objet à partir d'un motif d'interférence dans un plan d'image de reconstruction (9', 9") qui est sensiblement parallèle au capteur d'image (3) et avec un décalage prédéterminé (off) par rapport au plan focal (10) où l'au moins un objet (8) est focalisé ;

identifier au moins une partie dans l'image défocalisée correspondant à l'au moins un objet (8) dans l'échantillon ; et

calculer, à partir de ladite au moins une partie identifiée dans l'image défocalisée, au moins une caractéristique de l'au moins un objet (8).


 
2. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le décalage (off) par rapport au plan focal (10) est sélectionné de manière à ce que l'objet (8) dans l'image défocalisée couvre plus de pixels que cet objet dans une image reconstruite dans le plan focal (10).
 
3. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le décalage (off) par rapport au plan focal est inférieur à une distance maximale à laquelle les objets reconstruits individuels (8) se chevauchent dans le plan d'image (9', 9").
 
4. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel l'étape d'identification d'au moins une partie dans l'image défocalisée correspondant à l'au moins un objet dans l'échantillon comprend de déterminer une partie autour de l'au moins un objet.
 
5. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comprenant en outre de classification des objets sur la base de l'au moins une caractéristique calculée.
 
6. Système (1) de détermination de caractéristiques d'objets dans une suspension (2) comprenant :

une source de rayonnement cohérent (4) configurée pour diriger un front d'onde de rayonnement cohérent (7) à travers un échantillon d'objets dans la suspension (2) ;

un capteur d'image (3) configuré pour capturer un motif d'interférence entre le front d'onde de rayonnement cohérent (7) et un front d'onde diffracté par les objets ; et

une unité de calcul (6) configurée pour :

recevoir le motif d'interférence capturé ;

déterminer un plan focal (10) d'au moins un objet (8) où l'objet est focalisé ;

reconstruire numériquement une image défocalisée de l'au moins un objet à partir du motif d'interférence dans un plan d'image de reconstruction (9', 9") qui est sensiblement parallèle au capteur d'image (3) et avec un décalage prédéterminé par rapport au plan focal (10) où le au moins un objet (8) est focalisé ;

identifier au moins une partie dans l'image défocalisée pour l'au moins un objet dans l'échantillon ; et

calculer, à partir de ladite au moins une partie dans l'image défocalisée, au moins une caractéristique de l'au moins un objet.


 
7. Produit programme informatique comprenant des moyens de code de programme informatique adaptés, dans au moins une image, pour :
représenter un motif d'interférence entre un front d'onde de rayonnement cohérent (7) et un front d'onde diffracté par au moins un objet (8) dans un échantillon :

reconstruire numériquement une image défocalisée de l'au moins un objet à partir du motif d'interférence dans un plan d'image de reconstruction (9', 9") avec un décalage prédéterminé (off) par rapport au plan focal (10), où l'au moins un objet est focalisé,

identifier au moins une partie dans l'image défocalisée pour l'au moins un objet dans l'échantillon, et

calculer, à partir de ladite au moins une partie dans l'image défocalisée, au moins une caractéristique de l'au moins un objet,

lorsque ledit programme est exécuté sur un dispositif informatique.


 
8. Support de stockage lisible par ordinateur ou unité de stockage en mémoire comprenant un programme informatique selon la revendication 7.
 
9. Dispositif informatique ou appareil mobile comprenant le produit programme informatique selon la revendication 7 ou le support de stockage lisible par ordinateur ou l'unité de stockage selon la revendication 8.
 




Drawing




















Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description




Non-patent literature cited in the description