Samson, E. C. and Blanca, C. M.
Dynamic contrast enhancement in widefield microscopy using projector-generated illumination patterns.  New Journal of Physics 9: 363-14 (2007).

We present a simple and cost-effective optical protocol to realize contrast-enhancement imaging (such as dark-field, optical-staining and oblique illumination microscopy) of transparent samples on a conventional widefield microscope using commercial multimedia projectors. The projector functions as both light source and mask generator implemented by creating slideshows of the filters projected along the illumination planes of the microscope. The projected optical masks spatially modulate the distribution of the incident light to selectively enhance structures within the sample according to spatial frequency thereby increasing the image contrast of translucent biological specimens. Any amplitude filter can be customized and dynamically controlled so that switching from one imaging modality to another involves a simple slide transition and can be executed at a keystroke with no physical filters and no moving optical parts. The method yields an image contrast of 89–96% comparable with standard enhancement techniques. The polarization properties of the projector are then utilized to discriminate birefringent and non-birefringent sites on the sample using single-shot, simultaneous polarization and optical-staining microscopy. In addition to dynamic pattern generation and polarization, the projector also provides high illumination power and spectral excitation selectivity through its red-green-blue (RGB) channels. We exploit this last property to explore the feasibility of using video projectors to selectively excite stained samples and perform fluorescence imaging in tandem with reflectance and polarization reflectance microscopy.