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Spectroscopic methods for medical diagnosis at terahertz wavelengths

Reid, C.; (2009) Spectroscopic methods for medical diagnosis at terahertz wavelengths. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access


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Terahertz (THz) radiation lies between the microwave and infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. THz radiation excites intermolecular interactions and is non-ionising making it a viable tool for medical imaging. This thesis describes the development and validation of spectroscopic methods for diagnosis of tissue pathologies at THz wavelengths. Theoretical techniques were developed to determine the origin of the contrast seen in THz images of biological tissue. Specific biological tissues investigated in this thesis were colonic tissues with the aim of determining the origin of contrast between healthy and diseased tissue in THz images. This thesis investigates the interaction of THz radiation with matter using simple tissue phantoms made from five biologically relevant materials: water, methanol, lipid, sucrose and gelatin. Phantoms are designed to imitate the spectroscopic properties of tissue at specific wavelengths where physical properties of the phantom, such as concentration and homogeneity, can be accurately controlled. The frequency-dependent absorption coefficients, refractive indices and Debye relaxation times of the pure compounds were measured and used as prior knowledge in the different theoretical methods for the determination of concentration. Three concentration analysis methods were investigated, a) linear spectral decomposition, b) spectrally averaged dielectric coefficient method and c) the Debye relaxation coefficient method. These methods were validated on phantoms by determining the concentrations of the phantom chromophores and comparing to the known composition. Two-component phantoms were made comprising water with methanol, lipid, sucrose or gelatin. Two different three-component phantoms were created; one with water, methanol and sucrose and a second with water, gelatin and lipid. The accuracy and resolution of each method was determined to assess the potential of each method as a tool for medical diagnosis at THz wavelengths. Finally, the spectroscopic methods were applied to measurements of ex-vivo colon tissues containing cancerous and dysplastic regions. Statistical analysis of the reflected time-domain waveforms demonstrated good distinction between healthy and diseased tissues with an estimated sensitivity of 89.2% and specificity of 78.3%.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Spectroscopic methods for medical diagnosis at terahertz wavelengths
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Med Phys and Biomedical Eng
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/17571
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