Malaria Diagnosis Using a Mobile Phone Polarized Microscope. Academic Article uri icon


  • Malaria remains a major global health burden, and new methods for low-cost, high-sensitivity, diagnosis are essential, particularly in remote areas with low-resource around the world. In this paper, a cost effective, optical cell-phone based transmission polarized light microscope system is presented for imaging the malaria pigment known as hemozoin. It can be difficult to determine the presence of the pigment from background and other artifacts, even for skilled microscopy technicians. The pigment is much easier to observe using polarized light microscopy. However, implementation of polarized light microscopy lacks widespread adoption because the existing commercial devices have complicated designs, require sophisticated maintenance, tend to be bulky, can be expensive, and would require re-training for existing microscopy technicians. To this end, a high fidelity and high optical resolution cell-phone based polarized light microscopy system is presented which is comparable to larger bench-top polarized microscopy systems but at much lower cost and complexity. The detection of malaria in fixed and stained blood smears is presented using both, a conventional polarized microscope and our cell-phone based system. The cell-phone based polarimetric microscopy design shows the potential to have both the resolution and specificity to detect malaria in a low-cost, easy-to-use, modular platform.

published proceedings

  • Sci Rep

altmetric score

  • 61.03

author list (cited authors)

  • Pirnstill, C. W., & Cot, G. L.

citation count

  • 119

complete list of authors

  • Pirnstill, Casey W||Coté, Gerard L

publication date

  • August 2015