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Putting the Infrared Heat on X-rays

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Science  02 Jan 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5347, pp. 33
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5347.33

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Infrared light, which can pass through tissue harmlessly, could bring a softer touch to medical imaging if researchers could come up with a simple way to compose an image from the few infrared photons that pass directly through tissue without being scattered. On page 54 of this issue of Science, a research team reports about a light-sensitive polymer that can change its optical properties in response to a subtle play of light, resulting in a hologram from which a three-dimensional image of the tissue can be reconstructed. The new polymers are easy to handle and cheap to process into film, although experts acknowledge that infrared systems are a long way from the clinic, because so far they can only image thin tissue slices.