Application of Confocal InfraRed Imaging to Diverse Biomedical Problems
Al-Khalidy, Hassan S.
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Confocal IR imaging at 830 nanometers wavelength was originally introduced for rapid surveys of wet tissue biopsies, but it has been discovered that this method also has a high utility for recognizing the presence of foreign materials in tissues, discovering deep tissue damage, and monitoring the features of treated and untreated biofilms among other capabilities. The initial goals were to determine the capability of Confocal IR Microscopy, and then focus on analyzing different oral tissue lesions. Calibration trials showed that imaging depth in wet, dense tissues is limited to 500 micrometers over fields of 500 x 500 micrometer size, displayed at magnifications equivalent to 200X light microscopic magnifications and uniquely imaging sections to 1 cm X 1 cm image frames. Applied to embedded foreign materials of Teflon, silicone, and aluminum, as well as to mouse tumor tissue, it was seen that the method imaged well, at differing depths, the various shapes and thicknesses of the IR-transparent materials but only the size and presence of reflective metals. Image quality was also dependent on the exterior phase, being sharpest when air terminated the organic layer as demonstrated with layered adhesive tapes. When applied to dental biofilms, the exceptional value of Confocal IR imaging was in the accurate determination of the biofilms' wet thicknesses and degrees of internal organization before and after treatment with disinfective vs matrix collapse/removal agents. When applied to needle-punctured tissue, as occurs when delivering dental anesthetics, residual puncture-path damage was revealed by Confocal IR imaging enhanced by a unique infiltration method using colloidal carbon matter as a dark (IR-absorbing) space filler. Applications to detection and treatment of dental lesions await further calibration with authenticated biopsy materials. Actually, most of the research limitations were related to the machine capability.