extreme imaging
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The winners of the 2014 Extreme Imaging Competition were announced on Thursday 27th March 2014 at the PowerHouse Museum.

Press Release and full details

2014 Winner: Loretta Scolaro
'Imaging cancer through the eye of a needle'

With supervisor David D. Sampson, from the Optical+Biomedical Engineering Laboratory, The University of Western Australia

A novel optical imaging device has been developed that can improve our ability to image cancer with microscopic resolution while it is within the body. At the core of the imaging device lies standard optical fibre, together with very small lenses and mirrors fused together and installed in the shaft of a hollow hypodermic needle. We have developed imaging needles with diameters as small as 330 μm. Using this technology, optical imaging can be performed wherever a needle can be inserted. In particular, we are using our needles to assess cancer boundaries during surgery.

Finger holding needle
Schematic of needle


2014 winners
 2014 winners: Charles Baker, Loretta Scolaro, Paul Stewart,
 with CiSRA MD Keiji Ishizuka

2014 Runner Up:

‘Postcards from the Solar System’s edge’

Paul Stewart, with supervisor Dr. Peter Tuthill from The University of Sydney.

This project achieves ultra-high resolution imaging of stars using a very modest 23 cm aperture telescope, by an innovative technique employing stellar occultations made by the planetary rings of Saturn. A stellar occultation occurs when a star passes behind a foreground object, with the important occulter here being Saturn’s ring system as viewed from the vantage point of NASA’s CASSINI spacecraft in its orbit around Saturn. It was first suggested more than 100 years ago by Eddington that the detailed behaviour of the shadow cast by such an edge can reveal the structure of the light source. The wave nature of light produces a characteristic diffraction pattern, and careful study of occultations where the Earth’s moon passes in front of a star have historically been used to produce a one-dimensional brightness profile of the celestial target.

Using CASSINI’s Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) instrument, I obtained occultations across the near infrared waveband (1-5m) simultaneously, enabling me to measure the sizes and shapes of stars together with their environments as a function of observing wavelength. Strong wavelength-dependent behaviour of the stellar properties was revealed, pointing to the existence of molecular layers of water and CO2 at various temperatures blanketing the star.

When the sightline to a star passes behind Saturn’s ring plane, it encounters occultation events at a variety of different ring locations. By combining the one dimensional reconstructions obtained from each event, which all occur at different angles, I have been able to employ tomographic techniques similar to those found in medical imaging to reconstruct unique new high resolution two-dimensional images. This effectively enables the rings of Saturn to be used as a giant telescope which can be used to study the stars.

Undergraduate Winner:
‘Physiologically-informed parametric images of liver PET data’

Charles Baker from The University of Queensland, with supervisors Dr. Nicholas Dowson, Dr. Paul Thomas and Professor Steven Rose, from The Australian eHealth Research Centre, CSIRO.

Positron emission tomography (PET) is an imaging modality used to elucidate the metabolic functioning of tissue. Whereas X-ray, CT and MRI provide structural information, like a bone fracture, PET provides functional information, such as the rate of tissue metabolism.

Kinetic analysis is a tool used to glean further information from PET data by exploiting the dynamics of tissue metabolism. The standard kinetic model in use was developed for kinetic analysis of brain PET data, and consequently it does not take into account special structural and functional features of the liver. This project has made progress on two fronts: 1) the development of a physiologically-informed model of FDG metabolism that exploits the sinusoidal architecture of the liver; and 2) the development of a fast algorithm to compute parametric images of the abdomen in around thirty minutes.

go to Canon Australia website 2015 winners announced soon!