Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark are working on a way to make detecting cancer as easy as taking a picture. They are developing a device to turn infrared radiation into visible light which, when attached to a digital camera as a flash, could detect tumors by seeing the pattern of infrared light that they reflect, says New Scientist's Kate McAlpine. Jeppe Seidelin Dam, the researcher leading the Danish team, says eventually this device could allow surgeons to see before finishing an operation if the entire tumor has been removed. Dam's system depends on a multilayered crystal of potassium titanium oxide phosphate, McAlpine says. When an infrared laser is fired into the crystal, its photons interfere with the infrared photons from whatever object is being imaged and that shifts the wavelength and allows a regular camera to take a photo. Dam and his colleagues are playing with an idea that was first explored in the 1970s, but say they have improved the resolution 300-fold.
Dec 14, 2010