Scientists at the University of Nottingham have developed an innovative imaging sensor , It is designed to be deployed inside the human body to build a three-dimensional map of cell structure . The prototype combines laser and acoustic technology in a fiber no thicker than hair , It can be used with standard endoscope , In order to reveal the abnormal situation of indicating cancer in cells .
The optical fiber ultrasonic probe developed by the University of Nottingham team is described as the world's first , It is conceived as a clinical scheme to solve some defects of cell imaging . at present , This requires the use of large and complex scientific instruments in research laboratories , And it often involves fluorescent labels made of chemicals , These chemicals pose a risk to human cells in large enough doses .
Team members Salvatore La Cavera III
Said the doctor ：" Techniques to measure whether tumor cells have formed and deteriorated have been implemented by laboratory microscopy , But these powerful tools are cumbersome to use , Can't move , And can not adapt to the patient oriented clinical environment ." The nanoscale ultrasonic technology of endoscope capability is expected to achieve this leap ".
The imaging sensor has a pair of lasers , One of the lasers is converted by a metal layer at the top of the fiber into high-frequency sound particles called phonons . These phonons are pumped into the surrounding tissue , This will scatter the sound waves , Then it collides with the second laser . By analyzing these collisions , The system can directly reproduce the shape of the moving sound wave , This can reveal useful characteristics of the cells it passes through .
The point is , This includes geometry and its hardness . In this way , The team likened its new tool to the physical way doctors might feel the abnormalities and hardness under the skin , It could be a sign of cancer . however , Its ultrasonic probe can produce a three-dimensional map , Reveal the hardness and spatial characteristics of structures measured at the nanoscale , The details are similar to microscope images , Even more .
Three dimensional image of model biological cell constructed by new ultrasonic sensor （ lower ） Compared with the traditional microscope image （ upper ） A comparison of
According to the scientists , This tiny imaging device can be mounted on an optical fiber , It can also be integrated into traditional endoscope 10-20000
In a fiber bundle . These devices consist of thin tubes equipped with lights and cameras , It can be inserted into the body to search for signs of disease , The team hopes to combine them with their new probes , It can open up new possibilities in the field of clinical diagnosis .
The system measures the hardness of specimens , Biocompatibility and potential of perfect combination with endoscope , At the same time, it can also allow medical observation to enter the nanoscale , That's what makes it different , These characteristics lay a foundation for in vivo measurement in the future ; The ultimate goal of minimally invasive medical point diagnosis is achieved . The team is now exploring the potential of the tool in cell and tissue imaging , But imagine it's also valuable in precision manufacturing , It can be used for surface inspection and material characterization .