Wednesday, 13 May 2015, 15:00
Sala Grande Palazzina B via alla Cascata 56/C
Progress in mid-infrared (MIR) lasers for in vivo cancer diagnosis
FRSC, FSGT, FSPIE
Professor of Inorganic Materials, Head of Mid-Infrared Photonics Group
University of Nottingham, UK
The mid-infrared (MIR) spectral region is defined as the 3-25 μm wavelength range. Currently, exquisite MIR spectral mapping and imaging is carried out on excised cells and tissue (Fig.1). Our aim is to develop a new paradigm in MIR medical sensing, mapping and imaging, to open up the MIR spectral region for in vivo medical diagnostics. This will be achieved through focused development of MIR optical fibre based devices and systems which are robust, functionally designed, safe, compact and cost effective. This work has potential for new in vivo early-screening of cancer with real-time cancer diagnosis both externally and internally, via new medical endoscopy based on MIR fibreoptics. Moreover, MIR photonics is potentially a disruptive technology for molecular sensing to give improved monitoring of the environment, energy efficiency, security, agriculture, food and in manufacturing and chemical processing. The MIR spectral region has previously lacked portable bright sources. Together with DTU, Denmark, we have recently demonstrated extreme broad-band supercontinuum (SC) generated light 1.4 to 13 μm wavelength in a specially engineered, high numerical aperture, MIR optical fibre (see Fig.2).
This article was selected for NATURE PHOTONICS | VOL 8 | NOVEMBER 2014 | News and Views by Gr Steinmeyer and JS Skibina: “Entering the mid-infrared”: ‘---this exceeds previous record values by a factor of two various geometries and coming close to the best demonstrated infrared performance of white-light bulk generation schemes. --The demonstration of chalcogenide fibre-based supercontinuum sources that reach beyond a wavelength of ten micrometres is set to have a major impact on spectroscopy and molecular sensing.’
We are also developing rare earth doped fibres as narrowband MIR fibre lasers to pump the fibre broadband MIR SC in order to provide a complete fibre solution for in vivo analysis of malignant versus normal tissue for early cancer detection and for during medical surgery, to enable precise surgical removal of tumours at the cancer margins.