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Propescu, Gabriel

Prof.  Gabriel  Propescu

Associate Professor
Quantitative Light Imaging Laboratory
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science & Technology
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Urbana IL 61801
United States

tel: (217) 333-4840
E-mail: gpopescu@illinois.edu
Web: http://light.ece.illinois.edu/

Area of Expertise

Optical imaging, light scattering, microscopy, interferometry, quantitative phase imaging, phase retrieval, tissue optics, coherence theory.


Gabriel Popescu is an Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his Ph.D. in Optics in 2002 from the School of Optics/ CREOL (now the College of Optics and Photonics), University of Central Florida.  Dr. Popescu continued his training with Michael Feld at M.I.T., working as a postdoctoral associate. He joined Illinois in August 2007 where he directs the Quantitative Light Imaging Laboratory (QLI Lab) at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Dr. Popescu served as Associate Editor of Optics Express and Biomedical Optics Express, Editorial Board Member for Journal of Biomedical Optics and Scientific Reports. He authored a book, edited another book, authored 130 journal publications, 200 conference presentations, 32 patents, gave 165 lecture/plenary/invited talks. Dr. Popescu founded Phi Optics, Inc., a start-up company that commercializes quantitative phase imaging technology. He is OSA Fellow and SPIE Fellow.

Lecture Title(s)

Quantitative phase imaging of cells and tissues: Most living cells do not absorb or scatter light significantly, i.e. they are essentially transparent, or phase objects. Phase contrast microscopy proposed by Zernike in the 1930's represents a major advance in intrinsic contrast imaging, as it reveals inner details of transparent structures without staining or tagging. While phase contrast is sensitive to minute optical path-length changes in the cell, down to the nanoscale, the information retrieved is only qualitative. Quantifying cell-induced shifts in the optical path-lengths permits nanometer scale measurements of structures and motions in a non-contact, non-invasive manner. Thus, quantitative phase imaging (QPI) has recently enabled new basic biological studies such as cell growth, membrane fluctuations, intracellular transport, label-free tomography and clinical applications, including blood screening and cancer diagnosis.

Recently, we have developed Spatial Light Interference microscopy (SLIM) as a highly sensitive QPI method. Due to its sub-nanometer pathlength sensitivity, SLIM enables imaging interesting structure and dynamics studies over broad spatial (nanometers-centimeters) and temporal (milliseconds-weeks) scales. I will review our recent results on applying SLIM to basic cell studies, such as intracellular transport, cell growth, and single cell tomography. White-light diffraction tomography is a recent development that enables SLIM to solve inverse scattering problems and render 3D information with sub-micron resolution in all directions.

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