Nanoscale structure detection and monitoring of tumour growth with optical coherence tomography†
Approximately 90% of cancers originate in epithelial tissues leading to epithelial thickening, but the ultrastructural changes and underlying architecture are less well known. Depth resolved label free visualization of nanoscale tissue morphology is required to reveal the extent and distribution of ultrastructural changes in underlying tissue, but is difficult to achieve with existing imaging modalities. We developed a nanosensitive optical coherence tomography (nsOCT) approach to provide such imaging based on dominant axial structure with a few nanometre detection accuracy. nsOCT maps the distribution of axial structural sizes an order of magnitude smaller than the axial resolution of the system. We validated nsOCT methodology by detecting synthetic axial structure via numerical simulations. Subsequently, we validated the nsOCT technique experimentally by detecting known structures from a commercially fabricated sample. nsOCT reveals scaling with different depth of dominant submicron structural changes associated with carcinoma which may inform the origins of the disease, its progression and improve diagnosis.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Nanoscale Advances HOT Article Collection