From microscopes to nuclear imaging scanners, imaging technology is growing ever more vital for the world’s hospitals, whether for the diagnosis of illness or for research into new cures. Imaging technology requires dyes or contrast agents of some sort. Current contrast agents and dyes are expensive, difficult to work with and far from ideal. Now, Danish chemists have discovered a new dye and proved its worth against the dyes currently available.
“Our dyes are ten times better, far cheaper and easier to use. The latter I believe, lends itself to expanded opportunities and broadened use, by physicians and researchers in developing countries, for example.” Says Thomas Just Sørensen.
Visual noise blocks correct diagnosis
It might seem odd, but one of the central challenges when imaging cells and organs, is to avoid noise. The agents that make it possible to see microscopic biological structures are luminescent, but then, so is tissue. Consequently, the contrast agent’s light risks being overpowered by “light noise”.
Fluorescent dye competing against fluorescent tissue
Just as the dial and hands of a watch might glow in the dark, tissue becomes luminescent when exposed to light. Tissue and other organic structures luminesce, or lights up, for 10 nanoseconds after exposure to light. The light-life of an ordinary dye is the same – 10 nanoseconds. But triangulenium dyes produce light for an entire 100 nanoseconds.
Extraordinary longevity promises live footage from cells
The long life of the triangulenium dyes means that an image can be produced without background noise. Furthermore, the extra 90 nanoseconds mean that we can begin to deliver a living image of the processes occurring within cells, for example when a drug attacks an illness.
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