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09 Mar

UCL photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging research at SPIE Photonics West 2018

by Benedetta Biffi

UCL researchers and academics from the Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering participated in SPIE Photonics West which took place on 27/01- 1/02 in San Francisco, USA

With over 5,200 presentations and three technology areas, the conference is the world-leading event for photonics, laser and biomedical optics experts. Efthymios Maneas, a UCL researcher and PhD candidate within the UCL CDT in Medical Imaging and WEISS, shared his research at SPIE BiOS, a conference part of SPIE Photonics West that focuses primarily on biomedical optics and biophotonics.

Central to Efthymios’ work is the development of photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging techniques for image-guided fetal surgery, mainly applied to the human placental vasculature. In one of his talks, he introduced the first results of photoacoustic imaging of the human placenta from a high-resolution system developed at UCL and a commercial system based on a clinical ultrasound probe. Efthymios’ presentation is now available on the conference’s website.

A significant focus at SPIE BiOS 2018 was placed on the importance of engineering new tissue-mimicking phantoms. Efthymios presented his research in developing such patient-specific phantoms using gel wax, a novel material with improved temporal stability, for optical, ultrasound and photoacoustic imaging applications. This work is seen as part of a larger international effort for the standardisation of photoacoustic imaging systems that can accelerate the clinical translation of this imaging technique.

Efthymios is looking forward to next year’s SPIE Photonics West, where he’s expecting to see new developments of deep learning applied to different aspects of photoacoustic imaging and he would also like to see further adoption of gel wax as a tissue-mimicking material.

More information about his work in tissue-mimicking phantom development can be found in two recently published journal papers, with co-first author Dr. Wenfeng Xia (UCL Department of Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering): Anatomically realistic ultrasound phantoms using gel wax with 3D printed moulds and Gel wax-based tissue-mimicking phantoms for multispectral photoacoustic imaging.


Benedetta Biffi

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