India has approximately 3000 blood banks across the country and the blood stored in these entities is treated as a drug as per drugs and cosmetics act. as the stored blood is used regularly in operations or for transfusions, regular blood quality assessment is an important task that needs to be performed at the blood banks. the main component of blood, red blood cells (rbcs) in the human blood are known to circulate oxygen in the body and their life span inside a human is of 120 days. for stored blood it is known that under nominal storage conditions the effectiveness of rbcs to deliver oxygen is however limited to 6 weeks. current blood quality assessment protocols involve a number of chemical assays making the process cumbersome and it is generally difficult to maintain standardization across laboratories/ hospitals. digital holographic microscopy (dhm) is an emerging quantitative imaging modality which is capable of providing 3d morphological parameters of cells in their natural form without the need of any chemical processing. dhm operates on the principle of interference of light and can provide accurate information regarding minute refractive index changes in the cells that are ultimately related to the changes in chemical composition of the cells which changes in response to ageing, physical cell damage or infections. refractive index changes are treated here as a natural contrast mechanism and as a result, the usual wet-lab processing of cells prior to their analysis can be avoided. dhm technology thus has an advantage that cells can be observed in their natural form and it is possible to perform image based quantitative measurements on them. the 3d morphological information about cells available using dhm is a unique feature and this information is not available to most typical microscopes. at present iit delhi has developed arguably the best dhm technology with superior phase imaging resolution and accuracy compared to the competitor systems worldwide (figure 1 & 2 in attached document). some of the new mathematical ideas involved in the iit delhi system makes possible for it to bypass complicated hardware components making it a low cost affordable technology. iit delhi dhm system has been patented and a microscope product based on this is being introduced by india based holmarc opto-mechatronics. the microscope prototype is accessible to our team for use in this project and gives us a unique capability of performing holographic 3d imaging of blood cells (figure 2 & 3). further one of us (mandeep singh) has played an important role in evolving the dhm system from its very early days to the present stage as a part of his ph.d. research. as an interdisciplinary team consisting of a physics (mandeep) and a bio-science ph.d. student (azhar) at iit delhi and icgeb new delhi respectively, we propose to develop a simple method for assessment of blood quality using the dhm system developed at iit delhi. the effort will involve preparation of blood cell samples at icgeb delhi followed by their imaging via dhm system at iit delhi. basic laboratory infrastructure and a dhm system are available for our use at both the institutes which happen to be literally across the street from each other. a protocol for blood sample preparation will be standardized and the dhm image data generated will be used to perform statistical analysis suitable for analysis and classification of cells. through this effort we expect to evolve a unique and quick method for blood quality assessment which will be devoid of any chemical intervention. this work is expected to generate indigenous intellectual property / knowhow that can be utilized at multiple blood storage sites or hospitals across india and beyond giving our team a leadership status. the knowhow generated can be extended beyond this proof-of-principle study and can be utilized for application/product development in future.