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New and innovative optical microscope for accurate tumor identification

The VIBRA project “Ultra-fast Imaging with Broadband Coherence Raman” has been completed at Politecnico di Milano. Funded by the prestigious European Research Council of the European Community and lasting five years (2015-2020), this technology has led to the development of new and innovative optical microscopes in the fields of biology and biomedicine.

Today, the identification of tumors and other diseases is based primarily on the subjective judgment of pathologists who visually inspect tissue under a microscope. Our optical microscope, based on coherent Raman spectroscopy, allows you to quickly visualize the chemical composition of biological samples and identify diseased cells on a human biopsy. It is an accurate, reliable, non-invasive tool that can guide the surgeon’s work in real time. “

Dario Poly, Professor of Physics at Politecnico di Milano and Director of Science for the Project

Fingerprints of the molecules that make up a substance are recorded by using advanced laser technology that produces ultrashort light pulses (lasting millions of seconds in the shortest event humans have ever created). I was able to do. In fact, each molecule is recognized by the “sound” it makes when it vibrates. Therefore, the name of the project. A laser pulse has the dual function of hitting a molecule like a hammer to vibrate it and recording the vibration at a frequency billions of times higher than what you hear.

This is all done in a non-invasive manner, without adding contrast, destroying or interfering with the sample. Therefore, it was possible to map the concentrations of various components of a substance and create a detailed three-dimensional map of cells and tissues. “The results obtained will have a significant impact on biology and medicine. In the future, researchers will be able to visualize the properties of organic samples with great biochemical specificity. It’s about studying the underlying cellular mechanisms of a variety of pathologies. Biochemistry automatically identifies tumors for greater accuracy and reproducibility than they do today, “commented Professor Dario Polli.

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