Abstract by Dallin Arnold
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Terahertz Imaging for Detecting Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) is an uncurable disease that is caused by the buildup of scar tissue in the lungs. It is difficult and painful to diagnose, impossible to cure, and usually fatal. One of the biggest reasons why IPF is so dangerous is because patients are not diagnosed soon enough to receive treatment. Diagnosing IPF involves cutting out a lung sample from the patient and analyzing it through many time-consuming processes.
The goal of our research is to find a faster, less painful, and quantitative way to diagnose IPF in earlier stages so that patients can begin receiving the proper treatment to slow the progression of the disease before it becomes life-threatening. This is done through terahertz (THz) spectroscopy. THz light is absorbed by collagen, one of the principal components of scar tissue in the lungs. The amount of THz light that is absorbed is directly proportional to the amount of collagen in the sample. Using THz transmission measurements, we can quantitatively determine the progression of IPF in patients. Success in this research will lead to an earlier diagnosis of IPF in patients and a greater chance of their survival.