Australian Scientists Use A Donut-Shaped Beam In Medical 3D Imaging Breakthrough

A brain scan in 1953. Photo: Hulton Archive/GETTY

A breakthrough technique for super-resolution 3D medical imaging of living cells has been developed by researchers at Swinburne University of Technology.

The new technique could aid in minimal-invasive surgery, the early detection of cancer, brain imaging and drug testing.

The researchers, Professor Min Gu, Dr Xiangping Li and Dr Hong Kang, applied a technique announced last year, enabling three-dimensional optical beam lithography at nine nanometres, to two-photon fluorescence endo-microscopy.

(The head of a pin is one million nanometres.)

Two-photon fluorescence endo-microscopy is a powerful technique for non-invasive, high-resolution imaging of biological tissue.

Using this technique, they have for the first time demonstrated that greater image definition can be achieved with a two-photon probe using a special donut-shaped beam generated from a double-clad optical fibre.

“Until now, image resolution for 5 mm probe imaging has been very poor, making it impossible to obtain sub-wavelength details of organs that can provide information for early diagnosis of diseases,” said Professor Gu, the Director of Swinburne’s Centre for Micro Photonics.

Professor Gu said this achievement paves the way for further high-resolution medical studies.

The research is published in the latest edition of Scientific Reports.

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