Financial Times: Photoacoustic imaging enables scientists to step up war on cancer

Clare Elwell JANUARY 17,2019

In 1880, fresh from his invention of the telephone, Alexander Bell was experimenting with using light to carry sound (the resulting “photophone” was a precursor to modern day fibre optic communication). He noticed that shining a beam of sunlight on a rubber sheet produced an audible sound — the first demonstration of the photoacoustic effect.

Interest in this phenomenon, which occurs when materials absorb light and produce sound waves, was further pursued by Lord Rayleigh and Wilhelm Röntgen (of X-ray fame) but then lay dormant for over a century. During the last 25 years, physicists and engineers have revisited this effect and harnessed it to develop an imaging technique set to revolutionise how we detect and develop treatments for cancer.

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