Article Source: IMechE

Researchers claimed a “world first” after combining imaging and temperature measurement in a tiny probe as thin as a human hair.

The team, from the University of Adelaide in Australia, said the fibre-optic device will help medical scientists to accurately measure temperatures deep inside the body as they tackle brain conditions or search for new treatments.

“With an outer diameter of only 130 microns, the probe is as thin as a single strand of human hair,” said engineer Dr Jiawen Li. “This means it can be delivered deep inside the body in a minimally invasive way. It also allows us to see and record physiological data in real time that we weren’t able to access before.”

The probe was developed to help study drug-induced hyperthermia, a condition where drugs such as MDMA affect the body’s temperature regulation, leading to brain regions overheating and becoming damaged. The device could also provide insights into other diseases and treatments, including optimising thermal treatment of cancers.

Future generations of the probe could take other measurements, said Dr Li, such as pH values, oxygen saturation and accumulation of fat in arteries.

The research was published in Optics Letters.

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