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AI-enabled Imaging, Emerging Imaging, Affordable Imaging

Shaping Sound to See Sub-Surface Sicknesses

Project ID: 2023_008

Student: Lito Chatzidavari

1st Supervisor: Dr Christopher Rowlands, Imperial College London
2nd Supervisor: Prof Mengxing Tang, Imperial College London
Clinical Supervisor: Prof Adrian Lim, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust


Aims of the Project:

Pioneer high-resolution ultrasound by patterning acoustic waves using pulsed lasers and spatial light modulators. Modelling the optical ultrasound system and optimizing the design. Demonstrate the new ultrasound system’s unprecedented resolution and tolerance to tissue inhomogeneities.


Lay Summary:

This student working on this project will be responsible for the development of a new type of medical ultrasound scanner: one which can scan the whole body at once, looking for abnormalities and signs of disease in unprecedented detail. This new system can be used to find malignant tumours, precisely deliver drugs to the brain, observe disorders in blood flow at hitherto-impossible resolution, and monitor patients without the need to touch them, to name but a few applications.

The system uses high-powered lasers to create sound waves in complicated, detailed patterns, using computer vision techniques to make sure these waves combine to make the pattern we want. These patterns might steer the sound wave around bones, produce multiple scanning beams, or compensate for subtle differences in the thickness of the skull to enable ultrasound imaging and therapy in the brain without compromising spatial resolution. The purpose is to create high-resolution ultrasound images throughout the whole body. This requires the ability to steer the projected light to different locations, adapt to subtle variations in the speed of sound (which would otherwise distort and degrade a high-resolution ultrasound image), and create tightly-focussed ultrasound beams deep within the organ being imaged.
The ideal student on this project would have a background in computer science, engineering or the physical sciences. The project will combine lots of different skills (which can all be taught in the lab) in optics, wavefront shaping, mechanical / electrical engineering, computer vision / AI techniques and acoustics. It would suit a student with a an independent streak, a passion for learning new things, and who wants to help create the next generation of medical imaging technology.


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