We report a high-spatial resolution imaging technique to measure optical absorption and detect chemical and physical changes on surfaces embedded in thick tissue. Developing sensors to measure chemical concentrations on implanted surfaces through tissue is an important challenge for analytical chemistry and biomedical imaging. Tissue scattering dramatically reduces the resolution of optical imaging. In contrast, X-rays provide high spatial resolution imaging through tissue but do not measure chemical concentrations. We describe a hybrid technique which uses a scanning X-ray beam to irradiate Gd2O2S scintillators and detect the resulting visible luminescence through the tissue. The amount of light collected is modulated by optical absorption in close proximity to the luminescence source. By scanning the X-ray beam, and measuring total amount of light collected, one can measure the local absorption near scintillators at a resolution limited by the width of luminescence source (i.e. the width of the X-ray excitation beam). For proof of principle, a rectangular 1.7 mm scanning X-ray beam was used to excite a single layer of 8 μm Gd2O2S particles, and detect the absorption of 5 nm thick silver island film through 10 mm of pork. Lifetime and spectroscopic measurements, as well changing the refractive index of the surroundings indicate that the silver reduces the optical signal through attenuated total internal reflection. The technique was used to image the dissolution of regions of the silver island film which were exposed to 1 mM of H2O2 through 1 cm of pork tissue.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Emerging Investigators