High-Precision Pinpointing of Luminescent Targets in Encoder-Assisted Scanning Microscopy Allowing High-Speed Quantitative Analysis

Xianlin Zheng, Yiqing Lu*, Jiangbo Zhao, Yuhai Zhang, Wei Ren, Deming Liu, Jie Lu, James A. Piper, Robert C. Leif, Xiaogang Liu, Dayong Jin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Compared with routine microscopy imaging of a few analytes at a time, rapid scanning through the whole sample area of a microscope slide to locate every single target object offers many advantages in terms of simplicity, speed, throughput, and potential for robust quantitative analysis. Existing techniques that accommodate solid-phase samples incorporating individual micrometer-sized targets generally rely on digital microscopy and image analysis, with intrinsically low throughput and reliability. Here, we report an advanced on-the-fly stage scanning method to achieve high-precision target location across the whole slide. By integrating X- and Y-axis linear encoders to a motorized stage as the virtual "grids" that provide real-time positional references, we demonstrate an orthogonal scanning automated microscopy (OSAM) technique which can search a coverslip area of 50 × 24 mm2 in just 5.3 min and locate individual 15 μm lanthanide luminescent microspheres with standard deviations of 1.38 and 1.75 μm in X and Y directions. Alongside implementation of an autofocus unit that compensates the tilt of a slide in the Z-axis in real time, we increase the luminescence detection efficiency by 35% with an improved coefficient of variation. We demonstrate the capability of advanced OSAM for robust quantification of luminescence intensities and lifetimes for a variety of micrometer-scale luminescent targets, specifically single down-shifting and upconversion microspheres, crystalline microplates, and color-barcoded microrods, as well as quantitative suspension array assays of biotinylated-DNA functionalized upconversion nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1312-1319
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2016


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