Fiber optic images for next generation endoscopes


Researchers at the University of Exeter in England have developed a technique for imaging tissues through an ultrafine optical fiber, which possibly allows high-resolution images of individual cells within the body to be obtained. Optical fibers are as thin as human hair and can cause small endoscopes that can be inserted into human tissues to imagine individual cells. If further developed, the technique could help doctors identify diseased cells in the body and aid in the precise placement of needles to obtain biopsy samples.

Endoscopy is an invaluable technique that allows doctors to look at our bodies while causing minimal damage. However, conventional endoscopes are limited to inspecting tissues at a gross level, and individual cells remain a mystery unless they are removed from the body and analyzed with table microscopes. Single cell image live it remains beyond the reach of conventional endoscopy, but the latter technology may be about to change.

The new technique uses small optical fibers, the size of a human hair. However, creating images with these fibers requires some finesse, as the fiber significantly removes the light that travels through it, making the images blurry and useless. Fortunately, it is possible to clutter the signal to form a readable image by first understanding how the fiber distorts light and then working backwards to identify specific calibration information that can decipher the image. Researchers refer to this calibration information as “key” and have recently developed a way to calculate it very quickly.

However, image distortion also changes depending on how the flexible fiber bends or twists, which means that insertion into the body is unlikely to give a decent image, as the fiber will flex during this process. . To address this, the researchers used a method to dynamically track image distortion and adjust the key accordingly during images.

Interestingly, this corrective technique was borrowed from astronomy, where it is used to see the night sky through atmospheric turbulence. It is about using a “guide star”, in this case a fluorescent particle at the tip of the fiber, which the researchers use as a frame of reference to calculate image distortion and correction. The technique could lead to high-resolution endoscopes that can imagine individual cells to identify diseases.

“We hope that our work will bring the visualization of sub-cellular processes inside the body one step closer to reality – and help translate this technology from the laboratory to the clinic,” said David Phillips, a researcher. involved in the study. an advertisement from the University of Exeter.

Study a Communications on Nature: Memory-assisted image through multimode optical fibers

Via: University of Exeter

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