Study finds imaging system that takes diagnosis step further

Study finds imaging system that takes diagnosis step further
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Washington, US: Recognising the benefits of imaging and spectroscopy, UBCO's Integrated Optics Laboratory (IOL) researchers developed imaging systems that use terahertz radiation.

Medical imaging, such as X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasounds, gives doctors new perspectives and a better understanding of what's going on inside a patient's body. These machines can visualise many unseen ailments and diseases by using various types of waves.

This imaging is useful for healthcare professionals in making accurate diagnoses, but spectroscopy adds even more detail. Spectroscopy can be used to identify biomolecules within specimens based on their absorption signatures in the electromagnetic spectrum.

Terahertz radiation is found in the electromagnetic spectrum, with frequencies ranging from radio waves to visible light. This paves the way for fast and accurate terahertz characterizations of biological specimens, which can eventually aid in the development of effective cancer detection technologies.

“By working with terahertz radiation, we’re able to glean details on the underlying characteristics of biological specimens,” explained Alexis Guidi, a School of Engineering master's student and lead author of a new study published in Scientific Reports.

“This insight comes from the nature of terahertz radiation, which is intricately sensitive to the biomolecular make-up of cells.”Nonetheless, according to Dr Jonathan Holzman, IOL Principal Investigator and Electrical Engineering Professor, there are pressing challenges in developing these terahertz systems.

“The characteristics of terahertz radiation that make it an effective probe of cin terms of its long wavelengths, also make it challenging to focus and resolve in images. Our recent work solved this by demonstrating terahertz spectroscopy can show a resolution approaching the cellular scale.”