Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Biomedical Optics Express


Thayer School of Engineering

Additional Department

Geisel School of Medicine


Smartphone-based fluorescence imaging systems have the potential to provide convenient quantitative image guidance at the point of care. However, common approaches have required the addition of complex optical attachments, which reduce translation potential. In this study, a simple clip-on attachment appropriate for fluorescence imaging of protoporphyrin-IX (PpIX) in skin was designed using the built-in light source and ultrawide camera sensor of a smartphone. Software control for image acquisition and quantitative analysis was developed using the 10-bit video capability of the phone. Optical performance was characterized using PpIX in liquid tissue phantoms and endogenously produced PpIX in mice and human skin. The proposed system achieves a very compact form factor (<30 cm3) and can be readily fabricated using widely available low-cost materials. The limit of detection of PpIX in optical phantoms was <10 nM, with good signal linearity from 10 to 1000 nM (R2 >0.99). Both murine and human skin imaging verified that in vivo PpIX fluorescence was detected within 1 hour of applying aminolevulinic acid (ALA) gel. This ultracompact handheld system for quantification of PpIX in skin is well-suited for dermatology clinical workflows. Due to its simplicity and form factor, the proposed system can be readily adapted for use with other smartphone devices and fluorescence imaging applications. Hardware design and software for the system is made freely available on GitHub (



Original Citation

Brady Hunt, Samuel S. Streeter, Alberto J. Ruiz, M. Shane Chapman, and Brian W. Pogue, "Ultracompact fluorescence smartphone attachment using built-in optics for protoporphyrin-IX quantification in skin," Biomed. Opt. Express 12, 6995-7008 (2021)