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Myung K Kim

Myung K Kim

Myung K Kim
Professor, Fellow of Optical Society of America


Office: ISA 6218
Phone: 813/974-5223
Lab: ISA 6073
Fax: 813/974-5813



Ph.D. physics, 1986, University of California at Berkeley


Research Interests:

  • laser & optical physics
  • digital holography
  • optical tomographic imaging
  • biomedical imaging applications
  • photon echo
  • laser spectroscopy
  • quantum interference

Digital Interference Holography: Development of a New Tomographic Microscopy Instrument

We are Digital Holography and Microscopy Laboratory (DHML) at the Department of Physics, University of South Florida. The main theme of our research activities is in the development of novel imaging technologies with emphasis in holographic and interferographic microscopy. In digital holography (DH), the hologram is recorded by a CCD camera, instead of photographic plates, and the holographic images are calculated numerically using the electromagnetic diffraction theory. This gives direct access to the phase profile of the optical field and leads to a number of powerful imaging techniques that are difficult or impossible in real space holography. Transparent objects, such as many biological cells, thin film structures, and MEMS devices, can be imaged that reveal minute thickness variations with nanometer precision. Optical tomography by digital interference holography (DIH) yields cross-sectional images of biological tissues without actually cutting into them. Cellular motility can be studied by imaging the adhesion layers between a crawling cell and the substrate through the DH of total internal reflection, important in the study of embryogenesis, neuronal growth, and cancer cell metastasis. Furthermore, we are not only able to image cells and their components, but also manipulate them in full three dimensions, using patterns of light produced by holographic optical tweezers (HOT). Cells and organelles can be captured and tracked, coaxed into artificially patterned growth and motion, and operated on with micromanipulation and microsurgery. Students can expect to work on cutting-edge research topics and be trained extensively in advanced optical design and construction, digital image acquisition, computer programming, electronic instrumentation, and cellular and biomedical laboratory procedures. Digital holography is an emerging technology that has been experiencing exponential growth in the last decade, and has potential applications in wide-ranging areas including cellular microscopy, metrology, manufacturing processes and testing, medical imaging and diagnostics, biometry, environmental research, and food science, just to name a few.

Research Highlight

SKOV3 cancer cells imaged with digital holographic microscopy
Quantitative phase imaging is important because it allows the determination of the optical thickness profile of a transparent object with sub-wavelength accuracy. The optical thickness profile depends on the physical thickness as well as the optical index variation, and thus one can extract these information with great accuracy. White-light interference microscopy and optical coherence microscopy have been used to generate quantitative phase image but these require multiple exposure or mechanical scanning. Digital holography, an emergent imaging technique, offers an excellent approach for quantitative phase imaging. A hologram that consists of the interference between the object and the reference beams is recorded by a CCD camera and the holographic image is numerically reconstructed inside a computer using the results of diffraction theory. Calculation of the complex optical field allows direct access of both the amplitude and phase information of the optical field, and by numerical focusing, the images can be obtained at any distance from a single recorded hologram. Digital holography also affords numerous digital processing techniques for manipulating the optical field information in ways that are difficult or impossible in real space processing. We have obtained 0.5 um diffraction-limited resolution, with the noise level in the phase profile corresponding to about 30 nm of optical thickness. Images of SKOV-3 ovarian cancer cells display intracellular and intranuclear organelles with sufficient clarity and quantitative accuracy for applications in biomedical research.