Guest Column | November 28, 2011

The Growing Impact Of The NIR Wavelength Band To Biophotonics And In Our Lives


By Doug Malchow, Business Development Manager – Industrial Products, Sensors Unlimited – Goodrich ISR Systems

An observer's report from the NIH Workshop on Optical Diagnostic and Biophotonic Methods

It is a fascinating time to be involved in optics as biological applications grow in leaps and bounds. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has expanded its innovative "Bench-to-Bedside" funding initiative, which was developed to help speed the delivery of promising laboratory discoveries into new medical and clinical treatments, and it is driving research in optical methods. For the second time, I have attended an NIH Workshop on Optical Diagnostic and Biophotonic Methods, a meeting held every other year. This seventh workshop in the series, held in September, was dedicated to the work and legacy of Britton Chance and Mamoru Tamura, leaders in the development of biophotonics. The recent two-day workshop included presentations from leading researchers who are applying biophotonics to challenges in detecting, monitoring, and treating disease. Some sessions focused on specific organs, such as the brain, the eye, or the breast; other sessions centered on techniques like image-guided surgery, minimally invasive imaging, or imaging microscopic circulation of blood. All of the speakers presented compelling evidence that light-based simulation and/or detection is now having substantial impact and will continue to have even greater impact in the future on improving patient health.

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