Array microscopy technology and its application to digital detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Tkaczyk, Tomasz S.
Doctor of Philosophy
Tuberculosis causes more deaths worldwide than any other curable infectious disease. This is the case despite tuberculosis appearing to be on the verge of eradication midway through the last century. Efforts at reversing the spread of tuberculosis have intensified since the early 1990s. Since then, microscopy has been the primary frontline diagnostic. In this dissertation, advances in clinical microscopy towards array microscopy for digital detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis are presented. Digital array microscopy separates the tasks of microscope operation and pathogen detection and will reduce the specialization needed in order to operate the microscope. Distributing the work and reducing specialization will allow this technology to be deployed at the point of care, taking the front-line diagnostic for tuberculosis from the microscopy center to the community health center. By improving access to microscopy centers, hundreds of thousands of lives can be saved. For this dissertation, a lens was designed that can be manufactured as 4×6 array of microscopes. This lens design is diffraction limited, having less than 0.071 waves of aberration (root mean square) over the entire field of view. A total area imaged onto a full-frame digital image sensor is expected to be 3.94 mm2, which according to tuberculosis microscopy guidelines is more than sufficient for a sensitive diagnosis. The design is tolerant to single point diamond turning manufacturing errors, as found by tolerance analysis and by fabricating a prototype. Diamond micro-milling, a fabrication technique for lens array molds, was applied to plastic plano-concave and plano-convex lens arrays, and found to produce high quality optical surfaces. The micro-milling technique did not prove robust enough to produce bi-convex and meniscus lens arrays in a variety of lens shapes, however, and it required lengthy fabrication times. In order to rapidly prototype new lenses, a new diamond machining technique was developed called 4-axis single point diamond machining. This technique is 2-10x faster than micro-milling, depending on how advanced the micro-milling equipment is. With array microscope fabrication still in development, a single prototype of the lens designed for an array microscope was fabricated using single point diamond turning. The prototype microscope objective was validated in a pre-clinical trial. The prototype was compared with a standard clinical microscope objective in diagnostic tests. High concordance, a Fleiss’s kappa of 0.88, was found between diagnoses made using the prototype and standard microscope objectives and a reference test. With the lens designed and validated and an advanced fabrication process developed, array microscopy technology is advanced to the point where it is feasible to rapidly prototype an array microscope for detection of tuberculosis and translate array microscope from an innovative concept to a device that can save lives.