What is it about?

The research question which this paper answers is whether it is possible to extract nanostructural information from micron-level imaging with the optical coherence tomography (OCT) technique. We expect that our new approach, by extracting the nanoscale details spectrally encoded in the remitted light, will make OCT sensitive to nanostructural changes in tissues in their native 3D state.

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Why is it important?

There is a clinical need for technologies which are sensitive to sub-surface tissue structural changes at the nanoscale, since the most troubling developments in cells occur at this level. Pre-cancerous cells have larger, out of shape nuclei. During the cancerous phases, other ultrastructural changes such as increased water and decreased basal membrane thickness occur. The ability of our approach to detect nanoscale changes at clinically relevant depths could deliver clinically useful tools.


Nano-sensitive OCT (nsOCT) technique provides unique 3D structural information; the potential sensitivity to probe 3D highly scattering structures in vivo, using just single OCT scan, could well exceed any existing method. We believe that this publication will be important contribution to photonics and nano science and permit to create new unique tools for different applications, especially in the fast emerging fields of bio- and nanotechnology.

Dr Sergey Alexandrov
National University of Ireland - Galway

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Nano-sensitive optical coherence tomography, Nanoscale, January 2014, Royal Society of Chemistry, DOI: 10.1039/c3nr06132a.
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