U.S. researchers, led by Vanderbilt University’s Anita Mahadevan-Jansen, hope to improve the detection and classification of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) with their new compact Raman spectroscopy probe—which is coupled to an endoscope that’s commonly used during colonoscopy exams. Read more

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Microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, are tiny machines fabricated using equipment and processes developed for the production of electronic chips and devices. They’ve found a wide variety of applications in today’s consumer electronics, but their moving parts can wear out over time as a result of friction. A new approach developed by researchers at MIT could [..]

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MIT chemists have determined the structure of a bacterial enzyme that can produce biodegradable plastics, an advance that could help chemical engineers tweak the enzyme to make it even more industrially useful. The enzyme generates long polymer chains that can form either hard or soft plastics, depending on the starting materials that go into them [..]

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Optical microscopy experts at Colorado State University are once again pushing the envelope of biological imaging. Jeffrey Field, a research scientist in electrical engineering and director of CSU’s Microscope Imaging Network, has designed and built a fluorescence-detection microscope that combines three-dimensional and high-resolution image processing that’s also faster than comparable techniques. Read more

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Optical imaging of large distributed neural populations is a key goal in revealing the principles underlying brain activity, with recent advances in single and multi-photon light-sheet microscopy and related techniques playing a significant role. Read more

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A contact lens-based system that uses a strategically placed drug polymer film to deliver medication gradually to the eye was shown to be as effective as daily eye drops in a preclinical model for managing glaucoma. In a study supported by a grant from the Boston Children’s Hospital, the effect of the drug-eluting contact lens [..]

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Living Cells

Driven especially by advances in quantum cascade lasers (QCLs), infrared (IR) absorption spectroscopy has earned its stripes in recent years as a label-free technique for imaging a wide range of materials. Read more

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Qualifications

Cardiac arrhythmia — a wildly irregular heartbeat, can kill a person in minutes. Implantable defibrillators can provide lifesaving electrical jolts to the hearts of patients with a known risk of arrhythmia, but these shocks can be painful. Research teams in Germany and the United States have developed a potentially gentler method of stimulating a regular [..]

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Sound Processing

From an engineering perspective, there are several aspects to the relationship between optics and sound. For example, the notation of sound events (i.e., through the musical notation system) offers a graphical representation of sound in terms of quantized frequency along a quantized time axis. In other words, optical characters are used to capture sound and [..]

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Traditionally, the study of diseases at the molecular level has required scientists to extract cells and tissues from animal models and then look for clues in the samples that can determine the mechanisms underlying the disease and driving its progression. According to Chris B. Schaffer, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Cornell University, New York, [..]

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Thermal Noise Imaging

Imagine standing in a dark room in which a single, glowing ball is bouncing around. The ball avoids a region in the center of the room. Over time, you might conclude that an object sits in that region, even though you cannot see it. That thought experiment illustrates thermal-noise imaging, a technique that a team [..]

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Nanoscale Imaging

The bulky nature of optical components has long hindered their convenient integration into our daily lives. Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras, for example, require multiple sets of bulky lenses that must be interchanged depending on the desired imaging parameters. Analogous to the miniaturization of silicon chips that has revolutionized electronic devices over the past few [..]

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The genome-editing system known as CRISPR allows scientists to delete or replace any target gene in a living cell. MIT researchers have now added an extra layer of control over when and where this gene editing occurs, by making the system responsive to light. Read more

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Live 3D imaging is one of the hottest topics in optics today, transforming medical imaging capabilities and delivering the immersive experience behind augmented and virtual reality. During The Optical Society’s Light the Future Centennial program in Heidelberg, Germany on 26 July, Dr. Joseph Izatt of Duke University and Microsoft’s Bernard Kress gave an insider’s look [..]

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A research team from the United States and China has demonstrated a three-lens fluorescence microscopy method, paired with a computational algorithm, that uses “lost” light from biological specimens to produce high-resolution 3-D images. Read more

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By combining expertise in photonics – manipulating light beams in nanoscale waveguides on a chip – and materials science, Cornell researchers have laid the groundwork for a chemical sensor on a chip that could be used in small portable devices to analyze samples in a lab, monitor air and water quality in the field and [..]

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Today, patients with cataracts can choose from several types of artificial lenses, which are surgically implanted in the eye to replace cloudy lenses that obstruct vision. A new vision simulator could help these patients see how the world would look with each type of implanted artificial lens, before they have surgery. Read more

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