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article imageLaser technology helps medics track tumor growth

By Tim Sandle     Jul 12, 2017 in Science
Evanston - Researchers from Northwestern University have developed a laser design platform that uses multicolored light to track for tumor growth. The application will be used by medical facilities and it offers an advance on current methods.
Many industries and retailers have adopted laser and light technology. Take the retail sector; the use of lasers is the basis of bar code scanners. Across industry, innovations in lighting are replacing inefficient incandescent bulbs to increase brightness and life-expectancy.
A new light-based innovation is coming to the medical field. This is with a cost-effective laser design that produces multi-color lasing. This is set to provide advancement on chip-based lasers and miniaturization for the scanning of human tissue for tumors.
Chip-based laser technology has been adopted by several leading medical facilities. One example is at the Gittlen Cancer Research Foundation, Hershey Medical Center, U.S., for the detection of circulating tumor cells. A second example is with the Gloucestershire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Biophotonic Research Unit, in the U.K. In the latter case advanced optical technologies within the visible or near-infrared spectral range (such as lasers, microscopes and fibre-optics) have triggered increase in medical diagnostic applications of Raman spectroscopy.
The new technology from Northwestern University offers greater diagnosis for medical facilities through the use of multi-colored light (most previous platforms use white light). The advantage of multi-colors is that it allows for greater acuity for the visualization of diseased tissue in real time.
In communication with Digital Journal, lead researcher Professor Teri W. Odom said: “In our work, we demonstrated that multi-modal lasing with control over the different colors can be achieved in a single device.”
He went on to clarify the advances with the technology: “Compared to traditional lasers, our work is unprecedented for its stable multi-modal nanoscale lasing and our ability to achieve detailed and fine control over the lasing beams.”
Working at the nanoscale, the technologists succeeded in controlling the color and intensity of the light by simply varying its cavity architecture. Nanoparticle superlattices, which are finite-arrays of metal nanoparticles grouped into microscale arrays, once integrated with liquid allow a medical imaging platform to access different colors with tunable intensities. The developed nanolasers cover blue, green and red wavelengths simultaneously.
The new research has been published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. The research paper is titled “Band-edge engineering for controlled multi-modal nanolasing in plasmonic superlattices.”
More about cancer screening, Lasers, Tumors, Cancer
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