Refractometry of melanocyte cell nuclei using optical scatter images recorded by digital Fourier microscopy

Katrina Y T Seet*, Timo A. Nieminen, Andrei V. Zvyagin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


The cell nucleus is the dominant optical scatterer in the cell. Neoplastic cells are characterized by cell nucleus polymorphism and polychromism - i.e., the nuclei exhibits an increase in the distribution of both size and refractive index. The relative size parameter, and its distribution, is proportional to the product of the nucleus size and its relative refractive index and is a useful discriminant between normal and abnormal (cancerous) cells. We demonstrate a recently introduced holographic technique, digital Fourier microscopy (DFM), to provide a sensitive measure of this relative size parameter. Fourier holograms were recorded and optical scatter of individual scatterers were extracted and modeled with Mie theory to determine the relative size parameter. The relative size parameter of individual melanocyte cell nuclei were found to be 16.5±0.2, which gives a cell nucleus refractive index of 1.38±0.01 and is in good agreement with previously reported data. The relative size parameters of individual malignant melanocyte cell nuclei are expected to be greater than 16.5.

Original languageEnglish
Article number044031
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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