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Nanotechnology Now – Press Release: The health picture: Virginia Tech researchers advance bioimaging and sensing with quantum photonics

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Home > Press > Health overview: Virginia Tech researchers are advancing bioimaging and sensing with quantum photonics

Giti Khodaparast (left) and Wei Zhou in the Nonlinear Spectroscopy Lab at ICTAS II on Virginia Tech's Blacksburg campus.  Photo by Chelsea Seeber for Virginia Tech.
Giti Khodaparast (left) and Wei Zhou in the Nonlinear Spectroscopy Lab at ICTAS II on Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus. Photo by Chelsea Seeber for Virginia Tech.

Abstract:
Imagine you’ve just swallowed a pill filled with a tiny camera that will help your doctor collect images to diagnose a condition you’ve been struggling with for years. No, this isn’t something out of the latest sci-fi or Marvel Comics movie – it’s a technique called bioimaging.

Health overview: Virginia Tech researchers are advancing bioimaging and sensing with quantum photonics

Blacksburg, VA | Posted on June 30, 2023

While traditional bioimaging methods such as MRI, CT scans or X-rays are better known, the use of nanodevices is becoming more popular. They are less invasive and provide healthcare professionals with a closer look into the network.

Researchers from Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering and College of Science used their expertise in quantum photonics and nanotechnology along with funding from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Science Foundation to develop innovative nanodevices that can convert low-energy light into high-energy light. – Light energy crosses a broad spectrum. By enhancing the interaction between light and matter at the nanoscale, these devices have increased versatility and are more sensitive to bodily events occurring on the surface of the device when compared to those currently used in the medical industry.

Small but mighty
The research team, including Professor Wei Zhou in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Professor Giti Khodaparast in the Physics Department, have uncovered a fundamental principle in quantum mechanics that has inspired a new design to optimize the performance of this nano-optical transducer.

“The really exciting part of our research is the potential for this device to make significant strides in bioimaging and biosensing,” said Zhou. “They allow researchers to simultaneously collect a wide range of information at the intersection of nano and biological systems using different wavelengths of emitted light.”

Researchers will be able to see what happens at the interface between a biological system and a nanodevice, such as a change in voltage in brain activity or a change in the concentration of a biomolecule. By transferring high-energy light from low-energy light, these nano-transducers can capture clearer images to help improve the understanding and diagnosis of various diseases and conditions.

Life saving technology
In addition to Zhou and Khodaparast, graduate students from the electrical and computer engineering departments and the physics department have played important roles in this cutting-edge research and have transferred that knowledge to their current jobs.

Seied Ali Safiabadi Tali holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 2020 and has since worked as a photonics engineer at Quantum-Si.

“It’s amazing to think that the work we do can change people’s lives for the better,” said Safiabadi Tali. “This new technology has the potential to make bioimaging clearer and allow doctors to find disease earlier. Early detection means early treatment which is very important for many terminal diseases.”

As a photonics engineer at Quantum-Si, Safiabadi Tali works with a multidisciplinary team of scientists to develop single-molecule protein sequencing platforms that can transform the scientific community’s understanding of the human proteome, opening unprecedented insights into the human body. Safiabadi Tali’s research in quantum optics, photonics and biosensing at Virginia Tech has prepared him to continue to innovate in the multidisciplinary Quantum-Si workspace.

Physics alumnus Rathsara Herath, who also worked on this project, has used her expertise in advanced materials characterization in her current role as module technology development and integration results engineer at Intel.

“I learned a lot from this project in terms of bioimaging,” said Herath. “Our equipment setup in the lab has to be very precise to get accurate data. We also have to make sure we don’t damage the material with the high-power laser systems we use, which takes a lot of time and patience to get the right results.”

Outside of health care
Although these new photonic devices are nanoscopic in nature, their potential for future applications is enormous.

“The implications of our breakthrough extend far beyond the realm of healthcare,” said Zhou. “These rugged nanodevices are made of highly stable materials that are designed to last a long time and are virtually impervious to damage. By incorporating our advanced nanophotonic sensors into existing semiconductor and photonic systems, we can greatly improve the performance of biomedical equipment and more. “

Future applications include monitoring the aquatic environment in real time, diagnosing oil and gas pipeline leaks, and detecting explosives or chemical weapons.

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For more information, please click Here

Contact:
Suzanne Miller

540-267-4375

Copyright © Virginia Tech

If you have any comments, please Contact us.

Publisher of the news release, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, is solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

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