Research press release


Nature Communications

Clearer imaging that cuts through the noise



今回、Adam de la Zerda、Orly Libaたちの研究グループは、新しい方法でこの問題の解決に取り組み、スペックルノイズのパターンを能動的に調節し、試料に光を照射するための光源を実質的に操作することで、解像度を損なわずにイメージングアーチファクトを除去することに成功した。そして、de la Zerdaたちは、生きた動物の組織中の小構造で一般にスペックルノイズのために明瞭な検出ができなかったもの(例えば、マウスの角膜のいろいろな部分、マウスの耳の微細構造、ヒトの指先の皮膚の中にある汗管)が、この改良法によって検出できることを明らかにした。

The next generation of optical coherence tomography (OCT), a common clinical diagnostic imaging method, could see smaller objects more clearly thanks to a modification described in Nature Communications this week. The new method, which can detect structures in the eyes of living mice and on human fingertips that were previously undetectable with conventional OCT, may have potential clinical applications for the early detection of skin cancers and retinal diseases.

A phenomenon called speckle noise, an artefact of imaging with coherent light (beams of photons with the same frequency), has limited the potential of OCT for diagnostic applications. The coherent light scatters and then interferes with itself, making every point in an OCT image randomly appear bright or dark. Previous methods to remove speckle noise have resulted in blurred images and therefore a limited improvement in diagnostic capabilities.

Adam de la Zerda, Orly Liba and colleagues take a new approach to solve this problem. By actively modulating the speckle noise pattern, essentially manipulating the light source used to illuminate samples, the researchers remove the imaging artefact at no cost to resolution. They show that their modified method can detect small structures in the tissues of living animals, such as portions of mouse cornea, fine structures in the mouse ear, and sweat ducts in human fingertip skin that are generally obscured by speckle noise.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms15845

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