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Researchers develop optical technology to detect skin cancer

Researchers at the University of Rochester in US have developed an optical technology which provides images under the skin's surface, enabling the doctors to determine if the skin lesions are benign or cancerous.

Using this technology, it is possible to detect and examine skin lesions without the need to cut the suspected tumour out of the skin and analyse it in the lab.

In the new procedure, a one-foot-long cylindrical probe is placed in contact with the tissue, and within seconds, a clear, high-resolution, 3D image of what lies below the skin is obtained.

The device uses a unique liquid lens setup, in which a droplet of water is used instead of the glass in a standard lens.

As the electrical field around the water droplet changes, the droplet changes its shape and the focus of the lens, allowing the device to take thousands of pictures at different depths below the skin’s surface.

The device has been successfully tested in in-vivo human skin and researchers are planning to test in the in a clinical research environment.