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Microwave-induced ultrasound imaging offers high-resolution, real-time tissue monitoring

JUL 12, 2024
Noninvasive, dynamic imaging could make its way into clinical practices for disease diagnosis and treatment.
Microwave-induced ultrasound imaging offers high-resolution, real-time tissue monitoring internal name

Microwave-induced ultrasound imaging offers high-resolution, real-time tissue monitoring lead image

Medical imaging provides a way for clinicians to understand the intricacies of the human body without performing invasive surgical procedures. However, many common imaging methods only produce static images, failing to capture many dynamic processes that could prove essential for diagnosing or treating diseases. These processes can serve as indicators of cardiovascular disease, provide feedback on drug efficacy, monitor a patient’s metabolism, and more.

Wang et al. developed a system to provide this information, by employing microwave-induced thermoacoustic tomography to produce images of deep tissue with high spatiotemporal resolution.

“We introduced a system that enables real-time imaging of anatomical structures and biological dynamics with a spatial resolution of hundreds of microns,” said author Huan Qin. “This technique allows for imaging at depths of up to several centimeters within tissue, including the assessment of electrical conductivity.”

Their system uses high-energy pulsed microwaves to excite polar molecules and ions within tissue, which can then be detected through passive ultrasound monitoring. This technique can generate images at a 100 Hz frame rate at a depth of up to 60 mm.

The team tested their technique on live mouse models, performing experiments to monitor their respiration and heartbeat, track their vascular cross-sectional area, and study bio-nanoprobe targeting and metabolism. They hope to continue testing and improving their system with the goal of employing it in clinical settings.

“We strive to explore the potential applications of this technology in the clinical field, particularly in stroke detection and continuous monitoring, breast tumor screening, quantitative assessment of fatty liver, and comprehensive evaluation of heart function,” said Qin.

Source: “High-spatiotemporal resolution microwave-induced thermoacoustic tomography for imaging biological dynamics in deep tissue,” by Yu Wang, Xiaoyu Tang, and Huan Qin, Applied Physics Letters (2024). The article can be accessed at https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0216061 .

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