Researchers Produce First Laser Ultrasound Images Of Humans

The majority of people find having an ultrasound to be a simple procedure: A technician applies gentle pressure to a probe against a patient’s skin, sending out sound waves that pass through the skin and bounce off muscle, fat, and other soft tissues before returning to the probe, which picks up the waves and interprets them to produce a picture of what is beneath.

Conventional ultrasound is typically noninvasive and doesn’t subject patients to as much radiation as X-ray and CT scanners. However, because it necessitates physical interaction with the patient, it may be restricted when used on patients who don’t respond well to the probe, such as infants, burn victims or others with sensitive skin. Modern ultrasound imaging faces significant challenges due to the substantial image variability caused by ultrasound probe contact.

To view a patient, engineers have now developed a substitute for the traditional ultrasound that doesn’t require bodily interaction. The novel laser ultrasound method uses a safe laser system for the skin and eyes to image a person’s interior remotely. One remote laser produces sound waves reverberating throughout the body when focused on a patient’s skin. Researchers translate the detected reflected waves into an image that resembles a conventional ultrasound by distantly detecting them with a second laser.

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