Roopam K. Gupta, Mingzhou Chen, Graeme P. A. Malcolm, Nils Hempler, Kishan Dholakia and Simon J. Powis

Optics Express 27(10), 13706-13720 (2019)

doi: 10.1364/OE.27.013706

An outstanding challenge for immunology is the classification of immune cells in a label-free fashion with high speed.  For this purpose, optical techniques such as Raman spectroscopy or digital holographic microscopy have been used successfully to identify immune cell subsets. To achieve high accuracy, these techniques require a post-processing step using linear methods of multivariate processing, such as principal component analysis. Here we demonstrate for the first time a comparison between artificial neural networks and principal component analysis (PCA) to classify the key granulocyte cell lineages of neutrophils and eosinophils using both digital holographic microscopy and Raman spectroscopy. Artificial neural networks can offer advantages in terms of classification accuracy and speed over a PCA approach. We conclude that digital holographic microscopy with convolutional neural networks based analysis provides a route to a robust, stand-alone and high-throughput hemogram with a classification accuracy of 91.3% at a throughput rate of greater than 100 cells per second.