Scientists Develop New Imaging Technology Inspired by Butterflies

In Education

A novel imaging technology, inspired by butterflies, has been developed by researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. This innovative approach can accurately differentiate between normal and cancerous cells with a remarkable 99 percent accuracy. The breakthrough is attributed to the identification of cancerous cells through their distinctive fluorescence in the UV spectrum.

Papilio Xuthus butterfluinspires researchers to create UV camera 

The technology was inspired by butterflies, specifically the Papilio Xuthus species. Butterflies possess compound eyes that differ significantly from human trichromatic vision. Their eyes consist of six or more photoreceptor classes in distinct ommatidia, enabling them to perceive a wider range of colors and details in their surroundings. The Papilio xuthus, a medium to large yellow swallowtail butterfly, is particularly notable for its tetrachromatic vision.

The researchers designed a camera replicating the visual system of butterflies, allowing it to perceive multiple regions in the UV spectrum. The innovative camera utilizes perovskite nanocrystals and silicon imaging technology to detect multiple UV regions, as explained by lead researcher Professor Viktor Gruev. CMOS camera simultaneously detects visible fluorescence signals from the PNC layer and a portion of the original UV signal rapidly attenuated and detected by the top silicon layer.

Tumorous tissues exhibit elevated concentrations of specific biomedical markers compared to their healthy counterparts. When subjected to ultraviolet (UV) light stimulation, these markers produce luminescence through a phenomenon referred to as autofluorescence.

New the enables high-sensitivity imaging

The exploration of the UV spectrum has faced constraints, posing a significant obstacle to advancements in scientific research, notes Shuming Nie, a bioengineering professor and co-author of the study. The development of the innovative technology now enables the high-sensitivity imaging of UV light, coupled with the ability to discern subtle wavelength variations.

The team of researchers foresees deploying this sensor in medical operations, whereas biologists express optimism regarding its application for the examination of various species with the ability to perceive the UV spectrum.

Professor Nie concludes, that this innovative imaging technology allows them to distinguish between cancerous and healthy cells, presenting novel and promising possibilities extending beyond the realm of healthcare.

Mobile Sliding Menu