Improving endoscopy resolution using inspiration from astronomy
Light carries pictures – firing chemical reactions at the backs of our eyes, or along optical fibres from inside the body, revolutionising surgery. Aiming to improve the resolution of endoscopes, here a team of physicists experiment with thinner fibres – comparing patterns of light that emerge after blurring and bending along the fibre, they aim to reassemble a 'memory' of the original picture. But there’s a problem – the fibres have to move, twist and turn to peek inside tissues, often scrambling the light into beautiful, but confusing patterns like these. Undefeated, the scientists take inspiration from astronomy, where guiding stars are used as reference points to orientate light from distant galaxies. Bright fluorescent particles on the tip of fibres in new endoscopes may help in a similar way, unscrambling detailed pictures of individual cells, and ultimately saving lives.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.