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World's 1st rigid endoscope system to help deep tissue imaging during surgery

IANS Apr 30, 2024

A team of scientists from Japan has developed the world's first rigid endoscope system that can see the invisible and help boost the outcomes of advanced medical procedures.

The system is capable of hyperspectral imaging (HSI) -- a technique that captures and processes information across a given electromagnetic spectrum -- from visible to over-thousand-nanometre wavelengths.

While various types of HSI devices have been developed, for OTN wavelengths, ordinary visible cameras lose sensitivity and only a few commercially available lenses exist that can correct chromatic aberration.

"At the core of the innovative system lies a supercontinuum (SC) light source and an acoustic-opto tunable filter (AOTF) that can emit specific wavelengths," according to the team from Tokyo University of Science (TUS) and RIKEN in Japan.

"An SC light source can output intense coherent white light, whereas an AOTF can extract light containing a specific wavelength," said Professor Hiroshi Takemura from TUS. "This combination offers easy light transmission to the light guide and the ability to electrically switch between a broad range of wavelengths within a millisecond," he added.

Their findings were published in the journal Optics Express.

The team also identified several future research directions for improving this method, including enhancing image quality and recall in the visible region and refining the design of the rigid endoscope to correct chromatic aberrations over a wide area.

"With these further advancements, in the coming years, the proposed HSI technology is expected to facilitate new applications in industrial inspection and quality control, working as a ‘superhuman vision’ tool that unlocks new ways of perceiving and understanding the world around us," the researchers said.

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