Flash Characterization of Smartphones Used in Point-of-Care Diagnostics

Binh V. Vu, Rongwei Lei, Chandra Mohan, Katerina Kourentzi, Richard C. Willson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Rapidly growing interest in smartphone cameras as the basis of point-of-need diagnostic and bioanalytical technologies increases the importance of quantitative characterization of phone optical performance under real-world operating conditions. In the context of our development of lateral-flow immunoassays based on phosphorescent nanoparticles, we have developed a suite of tools for characterizing the temporal and spectral profiles of smartphone torch and flash emissions, and their dependence on phone power state. In this work, these tools are described and documented to make them easily available to others, and demonstrated by application to characterization of Apple iPhone 5s, iPhone 6s, iPhone 8, iPhone XR, and Samsung Note8 flash performance as a function of time and wavelength, at a variety of power settings. Flash and torch intensity and duration vary with phone state and among phone models. Flash has high variability when the battery charge is below 10%, thus, smartphone-based Point-of-Care (POC) tests should only be performed at a battery level of at least 15%. Some output variations could substantially affect the results of assays that rely on the smartphone flash.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1060
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • battery
  • diagnostics
  • flash
  • iPhone
  • intensity
  • point of care
  • smartphone
  • spectrum
  • variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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