A handheld scanner for analyzing the skin of psoriasis patients was shown to provide clinically relevant information, such as the structure of skin layers and blood vessels, without the need for contrast agents or radiation exposure. The device generates a weak laser pulse to excite the tissue, which then absorbs energy and heats up minimally. This causes momentary tissue expansion, which generates ultrasound waves. Scientists can measure the ultrasound signals and use this information to reconstruct a high resolution image of what lies beneath the skin.
The device uses raster-scan optoacoustic mesoscopy (RSOM) implemented in ultra-broadband (10 to 180 MHz) detection mode to combine the depth capabilities of ultrasound with the resolution range and high contrast of optical methods.
The team, comprising researchers from Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich (TUM), showed how label-free biomarkers, detected by RSOM implemented in a handheld device, correlated with clinical scores.
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