Collaborative project between the UQ School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, UQ DRC, UQ School of Mathematics and Physics, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, and University of Leeds School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering.

Description: There is considerable interest in the interrogation of biological tissue at terahertz (THz) frequencies, largely due to the contrast in the optical properties of different biological tissues which occur in this electro-magnetic radiation band.

Aims: To examine our interferometric biological imaging technique using a THz quantum cascade laser (QCL) to perform coherent imaging of tissue samples.

Status: We have successfully demonstrated the feasibility of this imaging technique using porcine tissue.  We showed the capability to discriminate between different tissue types with relevant clustering of interferometric tissue signatures, as well as validating that the resolution and penetration depth are suitable for the detection of sub-surface features of skin tissue.  This work shows the potential of this imaging technique for in-vivo studies, opening a pathway towards automatic techniques for the discrimination of healthy tissue types for the study of normal physiology and possible therapeutic approaches.  This imaging technique is currently being validated for the potential to discriminate between healthy and diseased skin tissue.