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Summary

Medical imaging technologies are an essential tool in clinical practice, both to provide an accurate initial diagnosis and to monitor the evolution of diseases. While X-Ray imaging is an established modality that provides high-resolution images, the intrinsic contrast between tissue types is small. Common alternatives such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging, are themselves precluded from widespread use due to specificity and cost.

Microwave Imaging (MWI) is a promising emerging modality that employs low-power microwave waveforms targeted to the body and uses the resultant backscattered signals to generate images of the internal structures.

 

Challenge|Opportunity

A major problem that microwave imaging faces is the reflection of energy from the air-skin interface, which may be orders of magnitude larger than the reflected tumour response. Currently, this matching problem is overcome by immersing both the antenna array and the skin in a liquid, having a permittivity close to the human tissue so as to reduce the impedance mismatch and thus the reflected power at the interface.

However, the liquid is not practical to handle, is uncomfortable for patients, has a complicated maintenance and requires replacement to avoid contamination. Additionally, the liquid does not provide an optimum (wideband) impedance matching, compromising the resolution of MWI.

The proposed metamaterial-based impedance matching surface can overcome the abovementioned limitations of the liquid based matching. It also improves microwave imaging accuracy, enabling this affordable imaging method while avoinding harmful ionising radiation to patient.

 

 

Main Advantages

  • METAMat MWI is a non-ionising, non-invasive and affordable medical imaging technique;
  • Reasonable penetration depth in human tissue;
  • High contrast of malignant tissue;
  • More comfortable to the patients since they avoid placing their head or breast in the matching liquid;
  • Eliminates the handling and maintenance of the liquid.

Applications

  • Breast cancer detection;

  • Brain stroke follow-up.

  • Brain stroke classification (ischemic/ haemorrhagic);
  • Brain cancer detection;

  • Commercial Rights

    Exclusive
  • Development Stage

    Proof-of-Concept (TRL 2)
  • IPR Status

    Copyright and Trade Secret
  • Licensing Availability

    Worldwide
  • Tags

    Medical imaging, Antenna, Breast cancer
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