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IUSL /Physics Dept. Outcome in Biophotonics

Developed at the City University of New York and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Advanced Vein Visualization, AVV-1 provides a superior illumination and visualization of a patient's veins in both the arm and hand.  The AVV-1 has been designed to help a medical practitioner or nurse to accomplish the task of inserting a needle for an IV or blood draw in a more efficient, timely and safe manner. This will help minimize patient and practitioner stress, treatment delays, and infections from failed attempts. Vein illumination is particularly important when the patient is obese, very young, aged and/or has dark skin. Hopefully, the AVV-1 will soon be on the market at blood test centers and hospitals.

The Advanced Vein Visualization instrument is based on basic research conducted and patented by Robert Alfano and Stavros Demos at the Institute for Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers (IUSL) of The City College of New York (CCNY). Their research was assisted by Michele Alfano-Berwanger.

Their aim was to understand how light propagates and interacts with tissues in Near Infrared (NIR) just above the visible part of the spectrum. The visible part is from violet (400nm) to red (700nm). The NIR is from 700nm to 1450 nm. A nm is unit of light. Think of a sine wave (an analog of a water wave); the light wave's peak-to-peak distance is measured in nm, 1/billionth of a meter. The CCNY group used from 800 to 900 nm to probe deeply in tissue to see the veins using polarizers, similar to polaroid sun glasses, to cut the glare. The reflected light from the surface of skin is polarized while the light entering the skin becomes randomized. This led to the discovery of the very interesting way polarization, which is one of the fundamental properties of light, is modified after reflection or propagation in tissue. It was realized that specific aspects of this interaction could be used to better visualize certain objects located below the surface such as the veins in the arm.

Another aspect can be used to better image surface features such as the fingerprint. The first concept has now become the basis for the vein illumination instrument. We expect soon the second aspect of non-contact capturing of the fingerprint to become an important player in the biometrics application field. One can detect fingerprint optically better using polarization to see the ridges of fingerprint.

Adjunct to this unit, one can use the NIR to detect moles and lesions for dermatoscope by using what is called ABCD to detect cancer. This will be discussed in the future based on another patent from the CCNY IUSL group.