Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New method to detect ultrasound with light

14.02.2017

Tiny, soft, transparent nanofabricated devices turned into ultrasensitive microphones

A tiny, transparent device that can fit into a contact lens has a bright future, potentially helping a range of scientific endeavors from biomedicine to geology.


The tiny, transparent Micro-ring device can fit into a contact lens.

Credit: Cheng Sun

Developed by Northwestern University scientists, the device, called the Micro-ring resonator detector, can determine the speed of the blood flow and the oxygen metabolic rate at the back of the eye. This information could help diagnose such common and debilitating diseases as macular degeneration and diabetes.

The Micro-ring device builds upon Professor Hao F. Zhang's groundbreaking work in 2006 to develop photoacoustic imaging, which combines sound and light waves to create images of biological materials. The imaging technique is being widely explored for both fundamental biological investigations and clinical diagnosis, from nanoscopic cellular imaging to human breast cancer screening.

For three years, Zhang, associate professor of biomedical engineering, worked with Cheng Sun, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and their post-doctoral fellows Biqin Dong and Hao Li to create the Micro-ring resonator detector.

"We believe that with this technology, optical ultrasound detection methods will play an increasingly important role in photoacoustic imaging for the retina and many biomedical applications," Zhang said.

The team's work on the device resulted in a review article, published in the January 2017 edition of the journal Transactions on Biomedical Engineering.

In 2006, Zhang was exploring new retinal imaging technologies when Dr. Amani Fawzi, now an associate professor of ophthalmology at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, approached him to create a new diagnostic device that could measure biological activities at the back of the eye.

"We needed a device that had large enough bandwidth for spatial resolution," Zhang said. "And it needed to be optically transparent to allow light to go through freely."

"Ultrasound detection devices of that time were usually bulky, opaque, and not sensitive enough. And they had limited bandwidth," Sun said. "It could only capture part of it what was happening in the eye."

To meet Fawzi's challenge, the team needed to develop a radically different type of detector -- small enough to be used with human eyes, soft enough to be integrated into a contact lens and yet generate a super-high resolution of hundreds of megahertz.

"The trouble was to fabricate it, have it fit in the size of a contact lens, and make it still work," Sun said.

First, the team considered a device that placed the needle-sized detector on the eyelid, but that method was not ideal. Next, they landed on the idea of a tiny ring implanted in a single-use contact lens worn during diagnosis.

However, that idea added an extra challenge -- making the device transparent.

After nearly three years of work, they created the plastic Micro-ring resonator, a transparent device that is 60 micrometers in diameter and 1 micron high. There is movement toward using it with patients.

The team continues to improve the device with support from Northwestern, the National Institutes of Health, Argonne National Laboratory, and the National Science Foundation.

As word spreads about the device, about a dozen scientists from a variety of fields have approached the team about adapting it for their own work. For instance:

- Urologists want to use the system to study the optics of breast cancer cells, information that could lead to new treatments.

- Neuroscientists are interested in using the Micro-ring resonator as a window into rodent brains as a way of studying drug protection for the cortex during different points of a stroke. "Typically, researchers use a pure piece of glass, but this allows for a lot more types of imaging," Zhang said.

- Geologists aim to use the technology to investigate the earth crust and earthquake. "Hearing from a geologist--that was a surprise," he added.

Megan Fellman | EurekAlert!

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Novel PET imaging agent could help guide therapy for brain diseases
03.04.2018 | Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

nachricht New Computer Architecture: Time Lapse for Dementia Research
29.03.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen e.V. (DZNE)

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Structured light and nanomaterials open new ways to tailor light at the nanoscale

23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

On the shape of the 'petal' for the dissipation curve

23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Clean and Efficient – Fraunhofer ISE Presents Hydrogen Technologies at the HANNOVER MESSE 2018

23.04.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>