Scientists at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) have developed a photon camera capable of shining through the human body like an X-ray. One of its main missions is to assist with endoscopy.
The endoscopy procedure is rather unpleasant for the patient, and its speed and accuracy largely depend on the doctor's training. The developed camera will help physicians quickly recognize the position of the endoscope within the body. Previously, for this purpose, mainly X-rays were used, which are harmful to humans.
At the end of the endoscope there are glass optical fibers - light guides, the light from which is reflected from the inner surfaces of tissues and organs, without passing through them. As one sinks into the body, the visibility of light diminishes.
The peculiarity of the new camera is that it sensitively reacts to the flow of light particles - photons and even to some of them. This is made possible by thousands of single-photon detectors housed on a silicon chip in the camera. As a result, the camera captures even the weakest light signals from the endoscope inside the body. The accuracy with which it determines its location is 1cm, and everything takes less than 20 seconds.