Research at the intersection of machine learning, algorithms, and optics


The Computational Optics Lab develops new microscopes, cameras and computer algorithms for biomedical applications. The lab is directed by Dr. Roarke Horstmeyer, who is a new Assistant Professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Duke Univeristy.

More details about many of our current projects, including data and code, are also available at

Most recent papers:

K. Kim et al., "Multi-element microscope optimization by a learned sensing network with composite physical layers," Optics Letters (2020).

R. Horstmeyer et al. "Imaging deep in the brain with wavefront engineering," In Handbook of Neurophotonics (2020).

K. Zhou et al.,  "Diffraction tomography with a deep image prior," Optics Express (2020).

P. C. Konda et al., "Fourier ptychography: current applications and future promises," Optics Express (2020).

L. Loetgering et al., "Generation and characterization of focused helical x-ray beams," Science Advances (2020).

A. Muthumbi et al., "Learned Sensing: jointly optimized microscope hardware for accurate image classification," Biomed. Opt. Express (2019)

*Recent review article in Biophotonics Magazine

*Associated press releases from DukePhys.orgScience Daily


It is still surprisingly challenging to clearly capture many important biological events. The image resolution, field-of-view, and video frame rate of many optical recordings are still not as high as they should be. In addition, scattering prevents us from seeing beneath the very top layers of biological tissue. These limits are felt across many areas of study, from the pathologist who can only examine one small part of a histology slide at a time, to the neuroscientist who can only use light to monitor neural activity along the top surface of the brain.

The Computational Optics Lab develops new optical tools and algorithms to overcome these barriers. Here are a few current projects:

1. A microscope to capture gigavoxel-scale 3D images using principles from Fourier ptychography

2. Techniques to optically record in vivo neural activity in freely moving organisms 

3. Enabling high-speed detection of blood flow and motion deep within tissue using principles from machine learning


Interested in joining the lab? We are currently seeking PhD and post-doctoral candidates! Please feel free to get in touch with me if you are interested in working with optics, with machine learning, or ideally with both. I am especially interested in those who know their way around an optics table!