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Latest Issue
Jan/Feb 2021

Finding answers in the blood

Blood tests are vital in the diagnosis of many conditions, especially where anemia and other blood disorders are common — for example, in developing countries and areas such as sub-Saharan Africa, where a team of researchers recently tried an optical approach to blood hemoglobin assessment. After blood is drawn from a patient in a hospital setting, it is usually examined using expensive, bulky equipment. And in some cases, blood draws are performed on patients who are in a weakened state, or who already have a reduced hemoglobin level in the blood. Researchers at Purdue University sought a better way.

Sang Mok Park and Young Kim, the co-authors of this month’s cover story, researched a smartphone-based spectroscopic technique to measure levels of blood hemoglobin. The device, driven by superresolution imaging, can be calibrated to an individual’s diagnostic characteristics and used to noninvasively image the inner eyelid. A variety of spectral measurements can be made from the images obtained with this technique.

A team tested the app-based device in a clinical study in Kenya, collaborating with agencies working on the ground. The Purdue researchers’ innovative approach won first prize in the National Institutes of Health Technology Accelerator Challenge, which awarded the team $400,000 to scale up the development of their technology on the front lines of medical care. Read more here.

To share research and discovery in optical technologies during these times of reduced travel, our sister magazine sponsored the first virtual Photonics Spectra Conference on Jan 19-22. The Biomedical Imaging track of the event is available online at Viewers of the on-demand material will hear from top researchers, such as Aydogan Ozcan of UCLA, who, in his keynote session, discusses how deep learning can advance optical microscopy; Jürgen Popp of the Leibniz Institute, who covers biophotonics in point-of-care settings; and Adam Wax of Duke University, who discusses the 3D printing of OCT system parts.

Those interested in photoacoustic imaging will appreciate the feature by Eno Hysi, Darren A. Yuen, and Michael C. Kolios, who discuss the ways that the modality can be used for studying the buildup of fibrosis in donated kidneys. They write about how two dominant chromophores that represent blood and collagen provide the required information. Learn about the work here.

Richard Yang outlines the considerations that must be weighed when designing an endoscope that can inform a surgeon in real time during a procedure. Image resolution, field of view, focal length, and device size must all be prioritized in diagnosis and treatment. He covers the possibilities here.

Switching the focus to the components that make imaging systems effective, authors Regina Gumenyuk, Pablo Loza-Alvarez, and Simone Morselli reveal how, by using novel laser sources that are driving imaging technologies, they are able to explore segments of the spectrum that help to identify the presence of cancer where the disease has historically gone mostly undetected. Read about their important work here.

Enjoy the issue!

Mike Wheeler
As editor-in-chief, Michael Wheeler oversees Photonics Media's editorial operations — spanning print, web, and podcasts. He also serves as editor of Vision Spectra, chronicling advancements in the rapidly expanding machine vision/inspection sector.
Dan McCarthy
Senior editor Dan McCarthy manages editorial content and production for Photonics Spectra. An award-winning writer and editor, he has communicated the progress and practical value of advanced technologies for over two decades.
Doug Farmer
Senior Editor Douglas Farmer has been a journalist for nearly 20 years, winning awards for health and education reporting. He has a master's degree in journalism from Ball State University. He is editor of EuroPhotonics and BioPhotonics magazines.
Sarah Weiler
As Webinar & Social Media Coordinator, Sarah Weiler organizes and produces all Photonics Media webinars and manages social media content. With a background in writing and editing, she also contributes to the print publications.
Valerie Coffey
Science writer Valerie C. Coffey holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s in astronomy. She has covered optics, photonics, physics, and astronomy for a variety of industry and academic publications since 2000.
Hank Hogan
Contributing Editor Hank Hogan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. He worked in the semiconductor industry and now writes about science and technology.
Marie Freebody
Contributing Editor Marie Freebody is a freelance science and technology journalist with a master’s degree in physics and a concentration in nuclear astrophysics from the University of Surrey in England.
Farooq Ahmed
Farooq Ahmed has covered the physical and biological sciences for over a decade. He has a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Brown University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Columbia University.
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