Dr. Aydogan Ozcan has received the ICO Prize for his seminal contributions to bio-photonics technologies impacting computational microscopy and digital holography for telemedicine and global health applications. The International Commission for Optics (ICO) was created in 1947 with the objective to contribute, on an international basis, to the progress and dissemination of the science of optics and photonics and their applications. Under its broad umbrella, ICO member organizations include SPIE, OSA, IEEE Photonics Society, and the European Optical Society among other optics/photonics related professional societies in the world. The ICO Prize is given each year to an individual who has made major contributions to optics, before he or she has reached the age of 40. The noteworthy contribution in optics is measured chiefly by its impact on the field of optics generally, opening a subfield or significantly expanding an established subfield in research or technology. Some of the previous winners of the ICO Prize include Stephan Hell, who shared the Nobel Chemistry Prize in 2014, Alain Aspect, who received the Albert Einstein Medal in 2012. Dr. Ozcan is the first recipient of this prestigious prize at UCLA
Dr. Aydogan Ozcan is pioneered the area of lensless high‐throughput cytometry and computational on-chip microscopy platforms. Indeed, various different means of counting or characterization of cells have been out for many years now. However most of the existing cell counting systems are unfortunately either quite complex and expensive, or low‐throughput. As a transformative solution, Dr. Ozcan developed a computational high-throughput on-chip microscopy system that can analyze more than 100,000 cells within a few seconds over a sample field of view of >10‐20 cm2. Based on partially coherent digital in‐line holography, using this platform Dr. Ozcan demonstrated various landmark results for computational on‐chip imaging, including the imaging of single viruses or nano‐particles across a very large field of view of for example > 20‐30 mm2. This technique consists of forming liquid nano‐lenses around each nano‐particle seated on a hydrophilic surface. These self‐assembled nano‐lenses are stable for more than an hour at room temperature without significant evaporative loss, and are composed of a bio‐compatible buffer that prevents nano‐particle aggregation while also acting as a spatial ‘phase mask’ that relatively enhances the scattered light from the embedded nano‐particle/nano‐lens assembly. These results constitute the first time that single nano‐particles and viruses have been imaged using lensfree on-chip imaging techniques. Such an advancement in performance is achieved through a unique implementation of pixel‐super‐resolution in partially coherent lensfree holography as well as self‐assembly of liquid nano‐lenses that enhance the holograms of individual nanoobjects. The same computational framework was also pushed by Dr. Ozcan’s lab into a field-portable and cost-effective nano-particle imaging and quantification interface, with various applications in environmental monitoring and biomedicine.
Another unique landmark result that Dr. Ozcan pioneered is wide‐field lensfree on‐chip imaging technique which can track the three‐dimensional (3D) trajectories of >1,500 individual human sperms within an observation volume of ~8‐17 mm3 with sub‐micron accuracy. This high‐throughput imaging platform demonstrated more than an order of magnitude larger imaging volume compared to other microscopy tools permitting to track the 3D swimming patterns of human or animal sperms over several hours.
Furthermore, some of these computational imaging and microscopy techniques of Dr. Ozcan are also miniaturized and integrated onto regular cell‐phones and thus show significant promise especially for telemedicine and point-of-care diagnostic applications, especially relevant to global health problems in resource limited setting.