By Andy Choi
SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, will honor the multi-specialty research of a dynamic scientist from The City College of New York (CCNY). The research is mainly based on biomedical optics, and also combines the diverse fields of biology, medicine, and high-speed laser physics.
Dr. Robert Alfano, CUNY Distinguished Professor of Science and Engineering at CCNY will be presented with the first annual Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award at the SPIE Photonics West Conference, on January 23 in San Francisco.
The color of light emitted and scattered from the cells and tissues forms the basis of the research conducted by Professor Alfano. This replaces the use of conventional diagnostic techniques and surgical biopsies, simplifying the surgical process. Instant molecular data is facilitated by the non-invasive optical biopsy method.
According to Professor Alfano, this method of employing the colors of light to detect cancer was introduced only during 1984. Observation and analysis was carried out with cervix, breast, and liver tissue samples in association with Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and with other local medical centers.
Raman scattering offers increased resolution and sharper spectral lines, using less fluorescence. Professor Alfano and his colleagues employed this optical technique in 1991 to detect the differences between precancerous, cancerous, and normal tissue. Of late, the detection of cancer has improved with Stokes shift spectroscopy, integrating fluorescence and absorption for a precise evaluation.
Professor Alfano played a vital role in the Nobel Prize-winning innovation of the supercontinuum ultrafast white light source. Supercontinuum has been used as an important tool for various other discoveries. However, the approval of a patent for a pill-sized cancer detection device is the latest innovation.