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New promising diagnostics tool for fast, label-free cancer imaging


VTT has built a proof-of-concept Thermal infrared (TIR) hyperspectral imager, a technology that is foreseen to provide a new promising diagnostics tool for fast, label-free cancer imaging on a tissue scale and for quick and accurate inflammation detection. The current state of the art in IR hyperspectral imaging for cancer diagnosis uses FTIR imaging with a focal plane array or Raman imaging.  For inflammation diagnostics, wide spectral band integrated thermal images are presently used.  TIR hyperspectral imaging can also be used for pollution monitoring, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) measurements and  in geology or mineralogy studies.

The hyperspectral instruments in the TIR spectral range are expensive, large, heavy, and require a significant amount of  power. Therefore it is not possible to build a Hand-Held hyperspectral imager based on the FTIR or Raman.  VTT has previously developed  Piezo-actuated Fabry-Perot interferometers (PFPI) for UV-, Visible, Near and Mid Infrared spectral ranges, i.e. from 0.36 µm to 5.0 µm. Now VTT has developed the PFPI technology to demonstrate a hand-held hyperspectral imager for TIR and in January 2015 delivered the first prototype TIR hyperspectral imager to Twente University to be used by Dr. Herman Offerhaus and his research team. 

The major specifications of the built hand-held hyperspectral imager are:

Spectral ranges:  6.95 – 8.5 µm or 8.0 – 10.5 µm

Spectral resolution:  100 – 150 nm @ FWHM

Spatial resolution: 512 x 640 pixels (VGA resolution)

Fixed focal length: 50 mm

Target size: 10 mm x 10 mm


Figure 1  Handheld Thermal Infrared Hyperspectral Imager Prototype based on VTT Piezo-Actuated FPI for wavelength range 7.0 – 11.0 µm and Xenics F029 Gobi-640-CL thermal camera.

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