including a protective catheter sheath. This means it can safelyfit inside a narrow artery. ‘We used the technology to take 3D scans of atherosclerotic plaques inside blood vessel walls,’ Dr Li says. ‘These are a common cause of heart attacks.’ 'These miniaturised endoscopes, which act like tiny cameras, allowdoctors to see howthese plaques form and explore newways to treat them.' Dr Simon Thiele, Group Leader, Optical Design and Simulation at the University of Stuttgart, was responsible for fabricating the tiny lens. 'Until now, we couldn’t make high quality endoscopes this small.' 'Using 3Dmicro-printing, we are able to print complicated lenses that are too small to see with the naked eye,' Dr Thiele said. (Below) Rodney kirk, Jiawen Li. Credit: University of Adelaide. (Right) Imaging probe in blood vessel. Credit: Florian Sterl, Sterltech Optics.
TINY TECH GETS TO THE HEART OF DISEASE
A team of researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) has developed the world’s tiniest endoscope. Lead researcher Dr Jiawen Li, an associate investigator and Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at CNBP at The University of Adelaide, says that the endoscope will help clinicians better understand the causes and progression of heart disease. In Australia, 157 people are hospitalised every day due to heart attacks. Around one in 10 of these people are likely to be readmitted for a second one within a year. The endoscope can help detect and prevent these secondary heart attacks by assessing plaque in the arteries after the initial attack. At the heart of the endoscope is a tiny 3D-printed lens on the end of an optical fibre less than half a millimetre wide,
THE TEAM HAS USED 3D MICRO-PRINTING TO DEVELOP THE WORLD’S SMALLEST, FLEXIBLE SCOPE FOR LOOKING INSIDE BLOOD VESSELS.
IMPROVING HEALTH ANDWELLBEING
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