High definition infrared chemical imaging of colorectal tissue using a Spero QCL microscope
Mid-infrared microscopy has become a key technique in the field of biomedical science and spectroscopy. This label-free, non-destructive technique permits the visualisation of a wide range of intrinsic biochemical markers in tissues, cells and biofluids by detection of the vibrational modes of the constituent molecules. Together, infrared microscopy and chemometrics is a widely accepted method that can distinguish healthy and diseased states with high accuracy. However, despite the exponential growth of the field and its research world-wide, several barriers currently exist for its full translation into the clinical sphere, namely sample throughput and data management. The advent and incorporation of quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) into infrared microscopes could help propel the field over these remaining hurdles. Such systems offer several advantages over their FT-IR counterparts, a simpler instrument architecture, improved photon flux, use of room temperature camera systems, and the flexibility of a tunable illumination source. In this current study we explore the use of a QCL infrared microscope to produce high definition, high throughput chemical images useful for the screening of biopsied colorectal tissue.