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A University of Nottingham academic has won a prestigious five-year fellowship to explore the use of harmless sound waves to view deep inside living cells to aid early diagnose in diseases such as cancer.
Royal Academy of Engineering Fellow, Dr. Fernando Perez-Cota, from the Faculty of Engineering, is building a unique imaging instrument that uses sub-optical-wavelength sound (or phonons). Phonons are typically used in the semiconductor and consumer electronics industries, however their use in scientific imaging is something new.
Dr - Perez - Optics - Photonics - Group
Dr. Perez, from the Optics and Photonics Group, explains: "Many existing optical imaging techniques fail because they disturb or kill cells in the imaging process, especially with the use of toxic chemical dyes. Sound, by comparison, is harmless to life. Ultrasound, for instance, is the only safe method to image living human embryos.
"To exploit this at a cellular level, phonons are the right choice as their wavelength are in the nanometre range. This use of microscopic ultrasound is currently unexploited in the life sciences and healthcare, but it has many potential benefits in 3-D imaging, which is something I will be investigating on the project."
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