The Impact of Light Scattering Spectroscopy in the Medical Field

The field of medicine has been aided and improved through the use of versatile lighting technology. But now, the general impact that light scattering spectroscopy could yield in the world of cancer treatment is becoming more apparent, specifically, in this example, regarding the treatment and diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. As a new technique being pioneered by the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and Photonics at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston becomes more well-known, the hope is that light scattering spectroscopy can raise the survival rate amongst patients. Lighting measurement instrumentation is but one facet of this varied medical technology.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most dangerous forms of the disease, mainly because it is very difficult to catch early without invasive techniques. Lev T. Perelman, Ph.D., is the leader of the team that created an impressive instrument said to be capable of detecting the difference between pancreatic cysts and malignant tumors with a 95% accuracy. The findings were first announced this March in Nature Biomedical Engineering. Non-invasive accuracy readings on this magnitude would be a huge leap forward for the entire field.

The light scattering spectroscope (LSS) has the ability to distinguish between cysts and cancerous tumors by bouncing light off tissues and taking a look at the feedback this ray shows on the spectrum. Currently, although MRIs and CT scans can detect pancreatic cysts, the only way to find out if they are indeed cancerous is through surgery to collect a piece of the pancreatic tissue. There is a system called cytology, which is the only actual pre-operative technique, but it is successful 58% of the time. This isn’t an accurate enough rate to make a call of the presence of cancer cells.
As noted, if the LSS can get detection up to 95% or higher, surgery to determine cancer risk on cysts would be much rarer, an obvious positive result for the patient. Dr. Perelman put the need for such a revolutionary light-based tool thusly:

  • “Considering the high risk of pancreatic surgeries and the even higher mortality from untreated pancreatic cancers, there’s an obvious need for new diagnostic methods to accurately identify the pancreatic cysts that need surgical intervention and those that do not.”

New innovations based on lighting measurement instrumentation continue to impress the medical field. The hope for patients of the future is a world where diagnostic abilities for diseases can be done easily and without harm; in such a world, treatment would be much more likely to be successful and cancer more likely to be diagnosed in its earlier, more treatable, stages. Tools like the LSS are vanguard technologies, the type we look forward to seeing more from in the future.

Product Spotlight: OL 750 Automated Spectroradiometric Measurement System

First and foremost, photometric capabilities require precision. Gooch & Housego has created the finest in instrumentation in the OL 750 Automated Spectroradiometric Measurement System. State-of-the-art and intuitively designed, this spectroradiometer is at the vanguard of light instrument technologies. We consider it to be one of the most versatile systems of its kind currently on the marketplace, and we offer two versions: a single (OL 750S) and double (OL 750D) grating monochromator. Either way, the OL 750 has the capability to make accurate and easily-readable measurements throughout the 200 nm to 30 mm wavelength range.

Our system offers both technically stunning capabilities and extremely user-friendly techniques. It runs on Windows® operating software and functions completely dependent from manual inputs.

The types of spectroradiometer measurements possible from the OL 750 system are wide. This is merely a slight listing of all the possible light varieties available to test:

  • Arc Lamps
  • Laser diodes
  • Star simulators
  • LEDs
  • Flash and tungsten lamps
  • Solar radiation
  • Pulsed sources
  • Growth chambers
  • Sphere and low-level light sources

Our ability to add accessories to the basic format of the OL 750 also helps the systems flexibility tremendously. When configured with a goniospectroreflectance attachment (also available from Gooch & Housego Orlando), the OL 750 can measure specular reflectance on objects like lenses, automotive windshields, building materials, and screen surfaces such as computers monitors or televisions. Put simply, the unit is truly indispensable for those needing an array of light wave testing qualifications.
Some technical specifications of the double monochromator specification are impressive and include (in brief):

  • A wavelength range between 0.20 – 30 µm
  • Focal length at an impressive 254 nm (f/4)
  • Chopper rate is programmable, but 10 – 500 Hz basic
  • Configurable to many applications
  • Variety of accessories available

 

Finally, beyond the impressive technical specs, the OL 750 Spectroradiometer was designed for ease of use; whether you are operating a sophisticated, world-class laboratory or a smaller, more confined business. Features such as one-button access, easy-to-use wizards for software setup, data protection, and an intuitive interface for file viewing and storage give this system a very small learning curve with very impressive precision. For more information on getting one for your laboratory, contact us anytime at 407-422-3171 or orlandosales@goochandhousego.com.

Improved Food Taste, Quality, and Nutrition Due to LEDs

Nature is fickle. From changing seasons to changing climates, droughts to floods, and disease to insects, growing crops within nature has always been a reactive human activity. We cannot set the conditions that large-scale crops are grown in; we could only hope that crops would survive amongst the good times and the bad, as the natural world evolves around us. Or maybe that was the world of agriculture in the many millennia before ours and before the invention of sophisticated LED light and rigid photometric standards.

Recently, wide-ranging efforts have begun to be made to grow crops for mass production under LED lights. Growing crops through LED horticulture gives us not only the option to control the environment the plants we eat grow in, but to even slightly tweak taste and nutritional values.

To be clear, growing plants under lights is not new. The benefits and drawbacks of indoor agriculture have been known for sometime, and on a small scale (as well as in certain difficult environments), the concept has found itself to be rather useful. But, with a new powerful wave of flexible LED light capabilities, dreamers and thinkers are beginning to believe that we can scale up these minor efforts until we reach a stage where it is cost effective to grow crops under light for mass consumption.

LED-grown plants even offer the opportunity for us to fine-tune the plants we eat. Through careful photometric standards, LEDs can change color in the most minute ways, and plants respond to these changes in color (the light which it absorbs) by growing with different tastes, smells, and nutrients. This opens up a wave of possibilities in horticulture science and could allow for farmers of the future to work in niche crop markets.

Beyond futuristic and cutting-edge applications for LEDs in growing food, there are also the very practical considerations. The world’s population is growing rapidly, and growing a consistent controlled crop in massive quantities will be a valuable tool as humanity moves forward. LED lighting allows for the highest possible level of control (from when plants bloom, to the taste they have when they do so), and LED horticulture can even be done in less space than conventional farming techniques via methods such as vertical growth.

To reach our highest potential in this expanding field, one that has seen an explosion of interest in the past five years, LED calibration will be critical. Good LED calibration starts with thorough photometric standards. Gooch & Housego has experience in both and can assist fields such as LED horticulture in a variety of ways. Contact us today at 407-422-3171 for more information.

LEDs Assist in our Always-Connected World

In an age where everyone is staring at a screen below them as they pass through the world, it seems practical to contort our physical surroundings to this reality. Call it pragmatic engineering. LEDs can play a crucial role in this screen-happy planet, with distraction becoming a constant problem on city streets around the globe. Careful LED calibration will be the key to many developed technologies for urban use, from the lighting at a subway platform meant to sooth riders, to the lighting installed around roads to improve safety.

One city in the Netherlands is trying an evocative experiment with smart LED strips that are specifically targeting the distracted traveler. Called Lightline, the bright string of light is installed at important places along the ground and meant to cause immediate alarm for those walking over them. The town of Bodegraven is trying these out, particularly around schools, to see if there is a reduction in accidents connected to those walking distractedly with their smartphones.

The LED beams are far more luminous than standard street signage and can be wired into stoplights for maximum effect. Synced just like the lights themselves, the strips glow green for safe road crossings and red for an unsafe time. They stand out in the night like a discothèque.

While the technology is innovative, some consider this entire experiment to be an enabler for behavior that we as communities should be trying to wean out. The thinking goes that if LED strips are installed on a mass scale, the incentive to look up before crossing a road will be completely subtracted. But from a pragmatic standpoint, if the LED strips end up getting people’s attention and saving lives, they might be considered justified. We are a species that has gotten to the point where we can install LED strips on the road to get the attention of people looking at pocket computers of immense power because we evolve and adapt.

Whether this experiment in the Netherlands succeeds or fails, there will no doubt be many more applications of LED technology to our urban environments to come. As a limber and energy-efficient piece of machinery, LEDs are always giving us new applications for human health. They range from PTSD treatments to bulbs that reduce the amount of mosquitoes near humans (and thereby malaria). Careful LED calibration and the fine tuning of light projection will be at the forefront of it all.

In Photonics, Nature Continues to Inspire Technology

If you dig deep enough, you begin to see how so many of our modern technological systems are based on some facet of the natural world. How we transmit photons can often be informed by how they are transmitted in nature, and it makes sense that continuing capabilities in this realm will mirror that history. From cameras to lasers and aviation to entertainment, photonics play a role. Photometric standards will continue to be the weigh station by which we attune our technological marvels of the 21st century.

Take these two concepts that recently blossomed onto the scene with the imaginative help of mother-nature:

Structural Material Based Off of Tarantulas

First, let’s explore the tarantula concept, which sounds interesting even on just the surface. Scientists at the University of Akron looked to do something that has proven very difficult technically over the years. They wanted to design a structural object that has a consistent photonic coloration from any angle. This is harder than it may seem. This research flipped the notion that photonic structures are consistently iridescent on its head. This research can be applied in fascinating ways to our screen-filled world.

The researchers discovered this capability by looking at the hair of a species of blue tarantula; it turned out the hairs on the spiders were of a very specific and unique flower shape. Researchers learned to recreate this shape on a nanoscale, and they can now mimic it. The flower shape of the hair follicles creates a unique reflection of light unknown to demonstrate synthetic colors before now.

A Camera Based on a Moth’s Eye

For NASA’s moth-eye camera, more of nature’s tricks were uncovered with careful study and imaginative research. The eyes of all creatures are some incredible and complex systems, and for moths, their eyes use a tiny arrangement of tapered cylindrical protuberances in order to diminish reflection. It’s a setup that allows the insect to navigate well at night.

Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center decided to mimic the structure of a moth’s eye on a synthetic level, and in doing so, they crafted the High-Resolution Airborne Wideband Camera. The HAWC+, as it is known, is one of the planet’s premier cameras in terms of resolution. Camera seems hardly the worthwhile nomenclature, as this device will be used to study the dust in our galaxy from star formation and map the black hole at the heart of our galaxy.

Now that’s photonics and photometric standards at a truly outstanding scale. With miles to go in our understanding of the universe, high-calibration light technology can bring us further down the road.

LED Technology has Matured into Li-Fi

The term Wi-Fi has become so ingrained in our popular lexicon, that announcing that there may be a new system on the way could take a little time to get used to. Li-Fi, powered by careful LED calibration, is slowly but surely making inroads around the planet. To be fair, both systems (Wi-Fi and Li-Fi) are relatively similar; they are hyper-speed communication systems that transmit data. Where they differ, though, could end up being ground-breaking.

The concept is fairly straightforward in some ways: Wi-Fi systems rely on radio waves in order to transmit data, whereas a Li-Fi systems would link via the light spectrum. This light spectrum can be something as simple as an LED light bulb. Bulbs are basically electrical signals, but they can be multi-purpose, as the same current that brings light to your room can, conceivably, be re-purposed to expose that same room to data. It’s taken years for LED technology to come to the point where it can carry our data, but many industry insiders believe the technology is here, and investment in Li-Fi systems are blooming.

There are some drawbacks to Li-Fi, but more pros than cons once you start weighing them. In brief:

Pros:

  • Li-Fi has extremely impressive gigabit per second transfer abilities; some estimates are around 224 gbs per second. This difference is due to going outside of traditional radio waves.
  • Short range equals more secure connections. Whereas Wi-Fi can be picked up on by sensitive equipment at an exceptionally long distance, Li-Fi can be tuned to go no further than the light of a single room.
  • The ability to connect to a very specific IOT (Internet of Things). By focusing optical Li-Fi on your devices, you can provide them with a direct data stream.

    Cons:    

  • You need light for LED optical Li-Fi to work. The connectivity of the system is limited to where and how you’ve positioned a set of bulbs. Some actually see this as a pro, in terms of security and stability, however, the limitations of such a system should be noted.

All of that is just where Li-Fi is at now. As LED calibration and light systems evolve and become more complex, it stands to reason that Li-Fi technology could get more sophisticated along with it. Running data through light as opposed to radio waves presents a tremendous opportunity which we have great expectations for. For more information on LED calibration or technology, or our products and services, call us at 407-422-3171.

Unique Ways Lasers are Used Everyday

The conception of laser technology (more specifically, light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation: LASER) dates back to the 1960s. A basic classification for lasers as compared to any other type of light comes from its irradiance and highly-concentrated powers. When the concept of lasers was first being defined, its uses and promises seemed high, but we’ve gone so far in a mere half-century that it’s worth taking note of the litany of ways in which we use lasers in daily modern life.

This could be a long list. In lasers, we’ve discovered an invaluable tool that has uses in everything from medicine to communication. No doubt, the world would be a rather different place without them. Some of the ways in which they are used may surprise those without technical knowledge of these luminous beams. Here are just a few of the unique utilizations of lasers:

  • Cameras

The world’s fastest camera could only be powered by laser technology. The STEAM (Short-Time-Encoded Amplified Microscopy) is a breath-taking piece of technology that can take approximately 6.1 million pictures a second. It was created by University of California scientists. The camera takes so many images by using an intricate system of infrared lasers and will be used to capture images of sub-atomic particles.

  • Air Force Technology

From laser guided missiles to lasers used as missiles themselves, the military’s uses for lasers are widespread and sometimes worthy of science fiction. Lasers themselves have widespread uses in avionics that go well beyond defense capabilities.

  • Laser Movies

In South Hampton, England, a ground-breaking technology that is Europe’s first “all-laser” movie theater was constructed. The machines are said to provide superior picture as well as 3D imaging. At a reported cost of around 105 million U.S. dollars, those are some top-level movie projectors.

  • Super Science

Some of the most fascinating uses of lasers, and often the least heralded, are the contributions they make in assisting the scientific community. Massive, multinational projects such as CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (the world’s fastest particle accelerator that allowed us to confirm the existence of black holes) and LIGO (a hyper-complex device that recently made the detection of theorized gravity waves) were made possible with the use of exceptionally fine-tuned lasers. Lasers have only recently found the level of calibration necessary to make these discoveries.

The world of laser technology is bound to continue to grow. For information on Gooch & Housego or our products, such as spectroradiometers, contact us anytime at 407-422-3171.

LEDs May Help Treat Alzheimer’s

LEDs could one day be the medicine that treats many of our more complicated diseases and illnesses. That future is still pretty distant, but more and more it seems that we are getting glimpses at it. Take, for example, recent research into one degenerative disease that has been confounding those in the scientific medical community for many decades: Alzheimer’s. A team of researchers at MIT recently have begun to discover mechanisms for manipulating brain waves called gamma oscillations, which, with the proper LED calibration, have shown the ability to stimulate cells known to combat the “plaque” that Alzheimer’s seems to be related to.

The study, which is extremely preliminary, was published in the December edition of Nature, and the work of the MIT lab itself was documented in a recent episode of the always scientifically-curious RadioLab podcast. And, although the understanding of the technique is limited, the findings were so surprising that they have drawn attention worldwide.

The process used by Li-Huei Tsai and her team at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory goes something like this; Alzheimer’s disease is marked by an overabundance of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain, which clog up brainwave paths (in theory, their exact mechanism is still a bit murky) and impair gamma oscillations brain waves. By stimulating these damaged gamma waves in the brains of mice using specific hertz of electricity, the revitalized brainwaves “cleaned up” the problematic amyloid plaques. They would do this naturally in the brain of a patient without Alzheimer’s.

Problem number one for Li-Huei Tsai’s team was that doing this, even in mice, was incredible invasive; they had to drill a microscope hole in order to get the laser light through into the brain. There needed to be a better (and safer) way of stimulating the gamma oscillation brainwaves externally. Here is where Tsai and her partner Emery Brown thought of an ingenious concept: using highly-calibrated LED lighting to achieve the same effect. The hole now, if you will, is basically the animal’s eyes as they absorb LED light waves. They found that specified LED calibration at 40 hertz in a flickering nature for one hour, achieved remarkable results in terms of gamma oscillation stimulation.

The question now, for both Tsai’s team and the rest of the medical community, is multi-fold. What is the best LED calibration to accomplish maximum helpful brainwave stimulation? How long do these effects last for? How much, exactly, will they help in terms of treating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s? It should be noted that the research here, just on gamma oscillation and amyloid plaques alone, was very promising before this LED concept. Finally, will this treatment, once refined, work on the human mind? Here’s to hoping the answer to all of these questions will be positive, and that LED technology will lead the way to a bold medical breakthrough.

Product Spotlight: OL 770-DMS Display Measurement System

Calibration is the key to make use of light and energy. From scientific labs to aircraft illumination, understanding the power emitted by wavelength is important for work in education and a huge variety of industries. In few instances is this more true than with light displays; simply put, the usefulness of a display system can be measured only in the type and consistency of illumination emitted. For this reason, having a world-class spectroradiometer is paramount. Gooch and Housego has just that with the OL 770-DMS Display Measurement System.

Versatile, technical and intuitive to use, any manufacturer of display units needs the capabilities it features. Quality assurance is the engine by which technology companies run and are measured; to fall short here would often be to lose credibility. The OL 770 Display Measurement System has a wide variety of applicable uses due to its well-honed software and high-level technical abilities. Featuring wavelength accuracy at ±0.5 nm, 16-bit A/D resolution, and polarization error <1%, this spectroradiometer’s sensitivity and facility are nothing short of superb.

Beyond the technical highlights, the OL 770-DMS excels in its level of ease during day-to-day use. This sets it apart from other spectroradiometers in the field. Features such as the ability to automatically store tested data in an Excel™ format or the single-click interface presentation puts your lab’s capacity for information processing at the highest of levels. We’ve designed the system to allow the software it runs off of to work for you, as opposed to having to work to understand it. This means you can easily create customized reports and spreadsheets that are easy to use and are based on the needs of your spectrometric testing.

Included in this package are straight-forward fail/pass parameters that leave no confusion as to test results. Gooch and Housego’s technical prowess and cutting-edge abilities are well known and on full display with the OL 770-DMS. We achieved premier spectroradiometer sensitivity levels by creatively combining a CCD camera with direct viewing optics in our OL 610 CCD Imaging Telescope (one portion of the unit). This state-of-the-art piece of equipment was merged with a multi-channel spectroradiometer, and like magic, OL 770-DMS Display Measurement System was born. For more technical information and pricing, contact the leader in photonics at (800) 899-3171. We have the systems that can take your technical ability and precision to the next level.

Self-Assembling Perovskite Particles Pave the Way for LED Technology

LEDs in the 21st century have easily overtaken 20th century lighting forms, like fluorescent bulbs, in the realm of energy conservation and relative luminosity. The spread of LEDs worldwide is relentless and positive, as their benefits become increasingly well known. As this happens, older modes of lighting, be they household or industrial or commercial, are increasingly being phased out. However, LEDs clearly becoming the light fixture of the future is by no means a reason for the technology to slow down or rest on its laurels. With careful LED testing, we’ve seen that the full potential of light-emitting diodes has not nearly been reached.

A group of researchers from Princeton proved this to be an evident truth quite recently with their pioneering work on perovskite particles.

  • Traditional LED lights, for the most part, are powered by gallium nitride based in silicon with carefully-calibrated energy properties.
  • Perovskite particles are crystalline compounds that can be both super conductive or semiconductive, but their use is just recently being explored in regards to lighting.

The Princeton research team published results in January of this year in Nature Photonics stating that they developed a technique that pushed nano-perovskite particles to, more or less, self amass. This ability could lead to a more viable path forward for perovskite to be used easily in commercial LED settings in the future.

  • Barry Rand, part of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton, said about the work, “Our new technique allows these nanoparticles to self-assemble to create ultra-fine grained films, an advance in fabrication that makes perovskite LEDs look more like a viable alternative to existing technologies.”

The self-assembling particles are just one piece of a complex overall chemical structure that looks to refine and invigorate the stability and power capabilities of LED light panels. This could be especially useful as the solar sector continues to need better source materials for absorption and storage.

All of this innovation hinges on one important aspect: the ability for careful and detailed LED testing and calibration. Without the machines and technology to understand the wavelengths as well as their cumulative impact, further LED research would be difficult. But, we do have the calibration technology, and we do have the know-how. Gooch & Housego is at the forefront of this rare and technical scientific headwater. For more information on our products, contact us today at 407-422-3171 or toll-free at 800-899-3171.