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Laser imaging system 'could' revolutionise skin cancer diagnosis

29 May, 2014

A revolutionary technology that has the potential to improve the detection and diagnosis of this disease has been developed by researchers based in Queensland.

Dr Yah Leng Lim, from The University of Queensland's (UQ) School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, is a key member of the team that developed a ground-breaking laser imaging system that safely provides a different view of skin structure to that achievable with visible light.

The team is led by Associate Professor Aleks Rakic and Professor Stephen Wilson.

Dr Lim, a Queensland Smart State Fellow, said the terahertz laser employed a region of the electromagnetic spectrum that, until recently, was almost impossible to use.

"This research is still in its infancy, but we have built a prototype system and we're hopeful that this system will help combat this disease by facilitating early skin cancer detection, leading to better outcomes for patients," he said.

Although the prototype is currently laboratory based, it could well follow the trend that sees complex technology become common place.

"After all, years ago, applications of lasers were only seen in specialised laboratories, Dr Lim said.

"Today lasers are common place, such as in CD drives and DVD players.

"We are currently seeking support to further develop the technology and accurately determine the effectiveness of our system."

The research is funded by UQ, the Australian Research Council and the Queensland government and the UQ team is working in collaboration with researchers from the University of Leeds.

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