Lasers spot tiny tumours in a flash

Geake, Elisabeth
September 1991
New Scientist;9/21/91, Vol. 131 Issue 1787, p27
The article reports on research in both Great Britain and the United States on the use of lasers detect tumors. Researchers want to find tumors less than a millimeter across, which cannot be picked up using conventional X-ray or ultrasound imaging. Larger tumors can be found by shining light through a breast and looking for shadows, but small lumps get lost in the fuzziness of the image. The American group, led by researcher Robert Alfano of the Institute for Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers at the City University of New York, aims to find tumors in breasts by shining short flashes of laser light through the tissue. They only look at the photons-the particles of light-which travel straight through, and ignore the ones scattered by the tissue, because they add to the fuzziness.


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