Mid-IR Spectral Investigation of Normal and Malignant Breast and Cervical Tissue Samples Using a Quantum Cascade Laser-Based Microscope
Drezek, Rebekah; Tittel, Frank
Doctor of Philosophy
Mid-infrared (MIR) spectroscopy has been a tool used to identify specific features of normal and malignant tissue samples by utilizing MIR characteristics, specifically in the “fingerprint” region. The fingerprint region is a biologically significant spectral region typically identified between 1500 and 500 cm-1. MIR spectroscopy can be used to study molecular changes and variations occurring in samples, which can then be used to fingerprint specific spectral characteristics and biomarkers in order to categorize the specimens. The most common instruments currently used in this analysis are Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometers, although properties inherent in these instruments, such as slow data collection time and an inability to specify sample location for the spectral data collection, have placed a ceiling on the clinical practicality of their use for specimen classification and identification. In this thesis, we use a prototype of an infrared hyperspectral imaging microscopy platform based around tunable quantum cascade laser (QCL) technology that has a spectral coverage from 1800-900 cm-1. The quantum cascade lasers are coupled with a series of MIR refractive objectives and an uncooled microbolometer camera. The speed of spectral imaging improves to 30 frames per second, and the high magnification objective has a 1.34 µm pixel resolution with a 0.70 numerical aperture and 4.3 µm spatial resolution. We are able to specify data collection at specific discrete wavelengths as opposed to the full spectrum, which improves the data collection time and de-clutters the data for analysis expediency. Finally, we perform spectral imaging real-time, which aides in selecting precise regions of interest on the target sample. This thesis demonstrates the advantages of exploiting the capabilities of the QCL microscope to advance MIR spectroscopy in the identification of distinguishing traits of normal and malignant breast and cervical tissue samples.