Method and Apparatus for Performing Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Produce (Fruit, Vegetables) Using Spatially Structured Illumination
Background: The use of wide-field, broadband, spatially illuminated imaging of turbid media has the potential for simultaneous surface and sub-surface mapping of media structure, function and composition. This method can be applied with no contact to the medium over a large area and can be used in a variety of applications that require wide field image characterization. Technology: Scientists at the University of California, Irvine have developed a method that employs modulated imaging. This technology employs several existing illumination techniques, but provides depth-sectioned fluorescence and reflectance imaging in turbid media and deduction of spatially resolved fluorescence and optical properties. This new method can provide simultaneous surface and sub-surface mapping of media structure, function and composition. By employing wide field imaging, a single image can show separation of superficial fluorescent features from deep fluorescent features based on selection of spatial frequency of the illumination. Thus, qualitative and quantitative structure, function and composition information can be extracted from spatially encoded data. Application: Several methods in the past have been used to access sub-surface information from tissues. Ultra-sound (limited to imaging of mechanical properties of the tissue); OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) probes tissue sub-surface structure but only allows for small tissue volumes, and fluorescence tomography that approaches imaging with only a limited array of single source detectors that are serially switched in order to build up a tomographic image of the object of interest and is limited in its target area.
The method proposed by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, employs wide field imaging that can image large surface areas; utilizes quantitative fluorescent imaging that provides spatially resolved scattering properties in addition to fluorescence data; is able to separate the average background properties from the heterogeneity components of a single image; and can separate superficial from deep fluorescent features based on selection of spatial frequency of illumination.
This technology can be employed for but is not limited to small animal imaging, pre-cancer and cancer detection and monitoring, monitoring the efficacy of therapeutics, burn depth and burn severity assessment, wide field tissue oximetry, and chemical imaging as a means of quality control for pharmaceuticals.
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