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BioPhotonics Preview - September/October 2023

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Here is your first look at the editorial content for the upcoming September/October issue of BioPhotonics.

OCT System Design

Many researchers and product developers using spectral-domain optical coherence tomography choose to build their own system. This requires multiple optical and mechanical components, an understanding of signal and image processing, and the optics and programming expertise needed to bring it all together - as well as a significant investment of time. Using a prebuilt, off-the-shelf OCT spectrometer as one of the starting components can speed and simplify this process, reduce risk, and improve the quality of images collected. Starting with the key principles and layout of an SD-OCT system, learn how to get the best performance from the OCT spectrometer portion of your design - whether you plan to build the spectrometer yourself or buy one.

Key Technologies: OCT, SD-OCT, SS-OCT, spectrometers

Fiber Optic Probes

Fiber optic probes are ideal for fluorescence spectroscopy analysis in diagnostic applications. they allow a target to be illuminated at a defined wavelength and the fluorescence emitted by the target in response to excitation by the incident light to be collected. The emitted fluorescence is relevant to the composition of the target, which allows the nature of the target to be identified. These properties are used, for example, in the practice of in vivo diagnosis of breast cancer using special fiber needles and in laboratory blood analysis to detect diseases. Fiber optics is a versatile and inexpensive tool that offers many advantages for spectroscopy. Depending on the constraints imposed by the medical procedure and according to what we wish to analyze, we can turn to three main families of fiber optic probes, each offering specific benefits.

Key Technologies: fiber optic probes, fluorescence spectroscopy

Fluorescence Microscopy

Diagnostic accuracy of the standard of care fine-needle aspiration cytology remains a significant problem in thyroid oncology. Cytologically indeterminate thyroid lesions account for approximately 30% of all biopsied nodules. A method to detect thyroid cancer at the cellular level would be invaluable to reduce diagnostic uncertainty, decreasing the number of unnecessary lobectomies, and improve clinical decision-making. Using an exogenous fluorophore, methylene blue, in combination with confocal fluorescence polarization imaging, the authors were able to provide accurate, quantitative discrimination of cancerous versus noncancerous thyroid cells in pathologically diverse clinical samples. Results indicate that fluorescence polarization imaging provides a reliable quantitative biomarker of thyroid cancer and holds the potential to shift the paradigm of a cellular-level cancer diagnosis from subjective visual assessment to objective measurement.

Key Technologies: Fluorescence microscopy, LEDs, fluorescence in situ hybridization, Fura-2 calcium ratiometric imaging, Near-IR fluorescence imaging, spinning disk microscopy, endoscopy

Optoacoustic Spectroscopy

Mid-infrared (MIR) optoacoustic spectroscopy is a well-established technique that is currently being leveraged with modern technological advancements to push the boundaries of translational medicine. Researchers have recently demonstrated significant improvements to mid-infrared optoacoustic imaging and detection techniques that have yielded promising results for applications in non-invasive glucose monitoring and label-free analytic histology. Many biomolecules, such as glucose, lipids, and proteins, are excited by photons in the "fingerprint region" of the mid-infrared. When illuminated with pulsed mid-infrared quantum cascade lasers (MIR-QCL), these biomolecules provide acoustic waves via the photoacoustic effect. The resulting combination of high optical intensity, high wavelength resolution, and low acoustic background enables researchers to collect highly detailed spectroscopic data at increased sample depths with improved single-to-noise ratios. Such data can be processed to produce high-resolution chemical imaging in tissues or passed into increasingly sophisticated machine-learning algorithms to monitor blood glucose levels non-invasively with improved specificity and sensitivity.

Key Technologies: MIR optoacoustic spectroscopy, QCLs

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