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Nanyang Technology University (NTU) scientists have developed its prototype of a handheld medical imaging device that enables the production of images of up to 1-2 micrometers.

This device helps in finding characteristics of the early signs of tumors in cells. With the new device, it can produce images of a higher resolution than X-Ray, Computed Tomography (CT) scan and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine.

This new imaging technology is known as Micro-Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), it emits a spectrum of light between 700 to 950 nanometers, known as near-infrared light.   

This harmlessly penetrates human tissue and organs, and the device then measures the delay time of the ‘echo’ from its light waves as they strike different tissue structures, of which the information obtained is used to construct cross-section images of what is being scanned.  

The results are sent in real-time to a computer system running software developed at NTU, which assists in diagnosis by assembling the 2-D cross-section images into a three-dimensional picture and rendering different parts in color.  

This technology was developed for six years through joint research with teams from Harvard Medical School and the University of Alabama. Team lead, Professor Liu and his team continues to conduct in-depth research into OCT to further improve the medical device and extend collaboration in the healthcare industry.   

(Source: Bio Spectrum Asia, 2020)