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Optical 3D biopsies within reach thanks to advances in light field technology



  3D optical biopsies in reach thanks to advanced light field technology
Modal structure in fiber optic bundles captures light field information. Picture credits: Marco Capelli, RMIT University

Researchers have shown that existing fiber-optic technology can create 3-D microscopic images of tissue in the body that pave the way for 3-D optical biopsy.

Unlike normal biopsies, where tissue is harvested and sent to a lab for analysis, optical biopsies allow the clinician to examine living tissue in the body in real time.

In this minimally invasive approach, ultrathin micro-endoscopes are used in the body for diagnosis or during surgery, but usually only produce two-dimensional images.

Research at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia has now demonstrated the 3-D potential of existing microendoscope technology.

Published in Science Advances Development is a crucial first step towards optical 3-D biopsies to improve the diagnosis and precision surgery.

The main author Antony Orth said that the new technique uses a light field imaging approach to produce microscopic images in stereo, similar to the 3D movies you view with 3D glasses.

"Stereo vision is the natural format for human vision, in which we look at an object from two different areas of view and process it in our brain to perceive the depth," said Orth, a research fellow at the RMC node of the ARC. Competence Center for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP).




This study demonstrates that existing fiber-optic technology could be used to fabricate 3D microscopic images of tissue in the body that pave the way to 3D optical biopsies. Credit: RMIT University

"We have shown that it is possible to achieve something similar with the thousands of tiny optical fibers in a micro-endoscope.

" It turns out that these optical fibers naturally form images of different kinds Capturing perspectives and thus enabling depth perception on the microscale.

"Our approach can process all of these microscopic images and combine the viewpoints to provide a depth representation of the tissue under investigation – a three dimensional image."

How does it work?

Research has shown that fiber optic bundles transmit 3-D information in the form of a light field.

The researchers faced the challenge of using the recorded information to decode and generate a meaningful image

  3D optical biopsies within reach thanks to advances in light field technology
Dr. Antony Orth used an ultrathin micro-endoscope used in the study and demonstrated the 3D imaging potential of the existing technology. Credit: RMIT University

Their new technology not only overcomes these challenges, it also works when the fiber bends and bends – essential for clinical use in the human body.

The approach is based on principles of light field imaging that traditionally uses multiple cameras. Look at the same scene from a different perspective.

Light field imaging systems measure the angle of the rays incident on each camera and record information about the angular distribution of the light to create a "multi-viewpoint image".

But how do you record this angle information through an optical fiber?

"The most important observation we have made is that the angular distribution of light is subtly hidden in the details of how these optical fiber bundles transmit light," said Orth.

. The fibers essentially "remember" how the light was originally sent – the light pattern on the other side depends on the angle at which light enters the fiber. "

  Thanks to three-dimensional optical biopsies in range Progress in light field technology
The modal structure in fiber optic bundles captures light field information and enables 3D visualization. Picture credits: Anthony Orth, RMIT University

Against this background, RMIT researchers and colleagues developed a mathematical framework to relate the output patterns to the light beam angle.

"By measuring the angle of the rays entering the system, we can use the 3 – D structure of a microscopic fluorescent sample in which only the information in a single image is used," said Professor Brant Gibson, chief investigator and deputy director of CNBP.

"The optical fiber bundle acts like a miniaturized version of a light field camera."

"The exciting thing is that our approach is fully compatible with the fiber optic bundles already in clinical use. Thus, it is possible that optical 3-D biopsies may become reality sooner rather than later. "

In addition to medical applications, the ultrathin light field imaging device could potentially be used for in vivo 3D fluorescence microscopy in biological research ,


Super sharp images through thin optical fibers


Further information:
"Fiber Optic Bundles: Ultraslim Light Field Imaging Probes" Science Advances (2019). DOI: 10.1126 / sciadv.aav1555, advances.sciencemag.org / content / 5/4 / eaav1555

Provided by
RMIT University




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Optical 3D biopsies within reach thanks to advances in light field technology (2019, April 26)
retrieved on April 26, 2019
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