Traditionally, biological imaging has focused on two extremes of resolution: microscopes capture subcellular features and intraoperative systems offer large fields of view. Neither of these systems fully addresses the medical need to identify individual cancer cells during surgical resection. Microscopes have a poor geometry for in vivo imaging and deal poorly with the motion inherent in in vivo imaging. Intraoperative systems lack cellular resolution.
We are developing cellular-resolution intraoperative imaging systems that solve these challenges. Our first instrument imaged Up-Converting Nanoparticles (UCNs.) While up-converting materials have been a research topic for decades, their low efficiencies have limited their applications. We took advantages of recent advances in up-conversion efficiency to build the first in vivo up-conversion microscope.
S. Hildebrand, F. Shao, C. Salthouse, U. Mahmood, and R. Weissleder, "Upconverting Luminescent Nanomaterials: Application to in vivo Bioimaging" Chemical Communications preprint online