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Revolutionising biomedical imaging

Quantum imaging is an emerging approach proving vital to achieving society’s healthcare needs of tomorrow. 

At QuantIC, the UK Hub in Quantum Enhanced Imaging, researchers are working together with industry to deliver biological imaging technology using new quantum-inspired effects. The research has shown promising capabilities while simultaneously reducing device costs and rapidly improving accessibility for patients.

Pulse oximeters are among the most common optical devices for monitoring blood oxygenation and they played a critical role during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pulse oximeters work by measuring the transmission of light through the patient’s fingertips and requires calibration based on skin tone and finger anatomy.  However, this calibration is not suitable for everyone and often provides less accurate results in patients with darker skin tones or smaller than average fingertips.

QuantIC researchers, in partnership with semiconductor manufacturer Elmos, are working to develop an oximeter that provides accurate results no matter the skin tone or anatomy size. The proposed device works on the travel time of light as well as its transmission, and measurements are made possible due to the extremely sensitive quantum detectors. The introduction an additional travel time measurement removes any patient calibration.

Imaging through the human body with visible light is another goal for QuantIC’s leading research teams, who are aiming to quantum light-in-flight techniques, making imaging through tissue possible. This will replace expensive and limited MRI and X-Ray machines with hand-held portable devices. The pioneering team are due to present their exciting first results later in the year.