Quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) in biomedical spectroscopy
Quantum cascade lasers (QCL) are the first room temperature semiconductor laser source for the mid-IR spectral region, triggering substantial development for the advancement of mid-IR spectroscopy. Mid-IR spectroscopy in general provides rapid, label-free and objective analysis, particularly important in the field of biomedical analysis. Due to their unique properties, QCLs offer new possibilities for development of analytical methods to enable quantification of clinically relevant concentration levels and to support medical diagnostics. Compared to FTIR spectroscopy, novel and elaborated measurement techniques can be implemented that allow miniaturized and portable instrumentation. This review illustrates the characteristics of QCLs with a particular focus on their benefits for biomedical analysis. Recent applications of QCL-based spectroscopy for analysis of a variety of clinically relevant samples including breath, urine, blood, interstitial fluid, and biopsy samples are summarized. Further potential for technical advancements is discussed in combination with future prospects for employment of QCL-based devices in routine and point-of-care diagnostics.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Fundamental Developments in Clinical Infrared and Raman Spectroscopy