Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Computing the best high-resolution 3-D tissue images

24.04.2012
Real-time, 3-D microscopic tissue imaging could be a revolution for medical fields such as cancer diagnosis, minimally invasive surgery and ophthalmology. University of Illinois researchers have developed a technique to computationally correct for aberrations in optical tomography, bringing the future of medical imaging into focus.

The computational technique could provide faster, less expensive and higher resolution tissue imaging to a broader population of users. The group describes its technique this week in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Computational techniques allow you to go beyond what the optical system can do alone, to ultimately get the best quality images and three-dimensional datasets,” said Steven Adie, a postdoctoral researcher at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the U. of I. “This would be very useful for real-time imaging applications such as image-guided surgery.”

Aberrations, such as astigmatism or distortion, plague high-resolution imaging. They make objects that should look like fine points appear to be blobs or streaks. The higher the resolution, the worse the problem becomes. It’s especially tricky in tissue imaging, when precision is vital to a correct diagnosis.

Adaptive optics can correct aberrations in imaging. It’s widely used in astronomy to correct for distortion as starlight filters through the atmosphere. A complex system of mirrors smooth out the scattered light before it enters the lens. Medical scientists have begun applying adaptive optics hardware to microscopes, hoping to improve cell and tissue imaging.

“It’s the same challenge, but instead of imaging through the atmosphere, we’re imaging through tissue, and instead of imaging a star, we’re imaging a cell,” said Stephen Boppart, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, of bioengineering and of internal medicine at the U. of I. “But a lot of the optical problems are the same.”

Unfortunately, hardware-based adaptive optics are complicated, tedious to align and extremely expensive. They can only focus on one focal plane at a time, so for tomography – 3-D models constructed from sectional images as in a CT scan, for example – the mirrors have to be adjusted and a new image scanned for each focal plane. In addition, complex corrective systems are impractical for handheld or portable devices, such as surgical probes or retinal scanners.

Therefore, instead of using hardware to correct a light profile before it enters the lens, the Illinois team uses computer software to find and correct aberrations after the image is taken. Boppart's group teamed up with with Scott Carney, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and the head of the Optical Science Group at the Beckman Institute, to develop the technique, called computational adaptive optics. They demonstrated the technique in gel-based phantoms laced with microparticles as well as in rat lung tissue. They scan a tissue sample with an interferometric microscope, which is an optical imaging device using two beams of light. The computer collects all of the data and then corrects the images at all depths within the volume. Blurry streaks become sharp points, features emerge from noise, and users can change parameters with the click of a mouse.

“Being able to correct aberrations of the entire volume helps us to get a high-resolution image anywhere in that volume,” said Adie. “Now you can see tissue structures that previously were not very clear at all.”

Computed adaptive optics can be applied to any type of interferometric imaging, such as optical coherence tomography, and the computations can be performed on an ordinary desktop computer, making it accessible for many hospitals and clinics.

Next, the researchers are working to refine the algorithms and explore applications. They are combining their computational adaptive optics with graphics processors, looking forward to real-time in-vivo applications for surgery, minimally invasive biopsy and more.

For example, computational adaptive optics could be very useful for ophthalmologists. Boppart’s group previously has developed various handheld optical tomography devices for imaging inside the eye, particularly retinal scanning. Aberrations are very common in the human eye, making it difficult to acquire clear images. But adaptive optics hardware is too expensive or too complicated for most practicing ophthalmologists. With a computational solution, many more ophthalmologists could more effectively examine and treat their patients.

“The effectiveness is striking,” Boppart said. “Because of the aberrations of the human eye, when you look at the retina without adaptive optics you just see variations of light and dark areas that represent the rods and cones. But when you use adaptive optics, you see the rods and cones as distinct objects.”

In addition, the ability to correct data post-acquisition allows the researchers to develop microscope systems that maximize light collection instead of worrying about minimizing aberrations. This could lead to better data for better image rendering.

“We are working to compute the best image possible,” said Boppart, who also is affiliated with the Institute for Genomic Biology at the U. of I.

The National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation supported this work.

Liz Ahlberg | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu
http://www.news.illinois.edu/news/12/0423optics_StephenBoppart.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>