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Spectrometer for Detecting Skin Cancer


Design and Practical Application of the THz Spectrometer for Detecting Skin Cancer

Tech Area / Field

  • INS-DET/Detection Devices/Instrumentation
  • SAT-OTH/Other/Space, Aircraft and Surface Transportation

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Melnikov V G

Leading Institute
Institute of Radiophysics and Electronics, Armenia, Ashtarak-2


  • University of Waterloo / Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Canada, ON, Waterloo\nT-Ray Science, Inc., Canada, ON, Waterloo

Project summary

Very little is known about the effects of terahertz (THz) radiation on biological systems. Increasing interest in medical imaging at THz frequencies necessitates an understanding of the fundamental interaction of terahertz radiation with biological tissues. A number of researchers are attempting to develop a biosensor based on THz sensing. THz wave imaging is a promising candidate for tissue inspection and disease diagnosis. THz waves are non-ionizing and can be safely used for medical imaging applications. Unlike X-Rays, THz waves can penetrate into many organic materials without causing any damage to the material. By using terahertz imaging it has been shown that there is significant difference between the response to terahertz radiation of normal skin and basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. However, these possibilities have not been extensively used in practice.

Unfortunately the T-ray imaging is costly, bulky, and time consuming. Generating and detecting of THz waves is a difficult task requiring liquid helium cooled bolometer. In addition, generating THz radiation requires bulky and expensive equipment.

We suggest investigating highly sensitive absorbing spectrometer based on Dielectric Image Line (DIL) in sub-mm frequency range (20-10000GHz) that can be used for the detection of biological pathogens. The spectrometer will operate by means of monitoring the change in transfer characteristics of the dielectric resonator (DR) (coupled with DIG) when biological materials fall onto the active area of the resonator. It makes it possible to achieve excellent sensitivity when Dielectric Resonator (DR) is critically coupled with the DIG and will posse a high Q-factor. The portable and battery operated biosensor will be investigated and tested. We expect that such a biosensor can detect skin cancer in human tissue.


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