Researchers at the University of St Andrews have developed a method to test for illness by scanning the human body with light.
Staff from the School of Biology, School of Physics and Astronomy, School of Medicine and the Scottish Oceans Institute have collaborated on this novel diagnosis technique that could prove to be less intrusive and more effective for patients.
The light’s ability to be shaped would allow for the capture of high-quality, three-dimensional images of biological tissue, as well as biological specimens.
This advancement would mean dissection could be avoided, and fusing together multiple pictures of a rotated specimen would no longer be necessary.
The researchers involved in this study include Jonathan Nylk, Kaley McCuskey, Miguel A. Perciado, Michael Mazilu, Zhengyi Yang, Frank J. Gunn-Moore, Sanya Aggarwal, Javier A. Tello, David E.K. Ferrier, and Kishan Dholakia.
Dr Nylk, a researcher from the School of Physics and Astronomy, said, “We recently discovered particular beam shapes that retain their shape when travelling through biological tissue … but they still become dimmer as they travel deeper. Now we show that these beams can be further enhanced to give us more control over their shape, such that they actually get brighter as they travel (propagate).”
The researchers’ findings were published on Friday 6 April 2018 in the Journal Science Advances.
This new approach in light sheet microscopy is expected to help researchers better understand biological development of cancer, as well as a variety of cognitive diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s.
In addition, it is expected that this new technique could be useful to a range of optical imaging techniques, beyond light sheet microscopy.