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First use of microscopic sound waves to study cell abnormalities

Phonon-microscope-445-x-124

A University of Nottingham academic has won a prestigious five-year fellowship to explore the use of harmless sound waves to view deep inside living cells to aid early diagnose in diseases such as cancer. 

Royal Academy of Engineering Fellow, Dr Fernando Perez-Cota, from the Faculty of Engineering, is building a unique imaging instrument that uses sub-optical-wavelength sound (or phonons). Phonons are typically used in the semiconductor and consumer electronics industries, however their use in scientific imaging is something new.  

Dr Perez, from the Optics and Photonics Group, explains: “Many existing optical imaging techniques fail because they disturb or kill cells in the imaging process, especially with the use of toxic chemical dyes. Sound, by comparison, is harmless to life. Ultrasound, for instance, is the only safe method to image living human embryos.  

Read the full story on the University newspage