New laser imaging system does double duty in biological tissues

Scientists from Yale University have created a versatile laser imaging system capable of discerning both the physical structure and biological activity inside living tissues—including cell movements and even a heartbeat—according to study results recently published in the journal Optica.

The innovative tool—which can be used to either reduce grainy distortion known as “speckle” when imaging structures or enhance speckle analyzation when investigating internal cell activity—represents a significant step forward for multimodal imaging, said Yale professor and study co-author Michael Choma, MD, PhD, in a university press release.

“This laser has a novel combination of properties that we didn’t have before in a reliable way,” Choma said.

The researchers tested their newly developed system on the hearts of living tadpoles, successfully recording the organ’s physical structures as well as its blood-pumping action.

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