News

AddToAny

Google+ Facebook Twitter Twitter

Under the microscope: The phonon probe

This month: The phonon probe

OK, so what’s a phonon probe?

An ultrasonic imaging system, which can be deployed on the tip of a hair-thin optical fibre, and will be insertable into the human body to visualise cell abnormalities in 3D.

What will it be used for?

The technology, developed at the University of Nottingham, produces microscopic and nanoscopic resolution images that it is hoped will one day help clinicians to examine cells inhabiting hard-to-reach parts of the body, such as the gastrointestinal tract, and offer more effective diagnoses for diseases ranging from gastric cancer to bacterial meningitis.

Is this new?

The high level of performance the technology delivers is currently only possible in state-of-the-art research labs with large, scientific instruments – whereas this compact system has the potential to bring it into clinical settings to improve patient care.

Are there any other benefits?

Yes, it reduces the need for conventional fluorescent labels – chemicals used to examine cell biology under a microscope – which can be harmful to human cells in large doses.

What have the scientists behind it said?

Doctoral Prize Fellow Salvatore La Cavera said: “We believe its ability to measure the stiffness of a specimen, its bio-compatibility, and its endoscopic potential, all while accessing the nanoscale, are what set it apart. These features set the technology up for future measurements inside the body, towards the ultimate goal of minimally invasive point-of-care diagnostics.”

Can I read more about this?

Yes, you can – just go online and visit go.nature.com/3t8IMSH

Related Articles

All-in-one Covid surveillance test

A new type of COVID-19 testing strategy could help streamline the process of identifying cases, tracking variants and detecting co-infecting viruses, it is claimed.

Ultra-sensitive rapid diagnostic for Ebola

An interdisciplinary team of scientists has developed a highly sensitive and rapid diagnostic test for Ebola virus (EBOV) infection.

Novel Covid test

A new rapid test has been developed that is 98.3% accurate for positive COVID-19 tests and 96% for negative tests.

Focus on... autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease

Kamila Orzechowska, a final-year student at Coventry University, looks at the role of epidermal growth factor receptors and microbial infections in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease.

Top