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Electrical impedance measurements exploit the differences in the electrical properties of materials to detect inhomogeneities. Electrodes placed on the surface of an object are used to determine the electrical characteristics of the volume of that object. In vitro studies have discovered a difference of three times or more in electrical conductivity and permittivity between healthy and cancerous tissue. For this reason, theory suggests that electrical impedance imaging may be able to detect certain types of cancer. This research group attempted to detect breast cancer using the latest in the series of ACT instruments, ACT 4.

The ACT 4 instrument is a 64 channel device, capable of operating at multiple frequencies between 3 and 1000 kHz, and was designed primarily for breast imaging. Various probe configurations- parallel plate and planar hand-held probe were employed to explore the possibility of using electrical impedance imaging as an aid for detecting breast cancer in its earliest stages.  New 2-D and 3-D planar reconstruction algorithms allowed a researcher or technician to view the inside of a breast in real time or as still images.  Instability of the breast-electrode interface during the short times available for the study was the most likely reason that initially-encouraging results were not able to be reproduced.

Current work is conducted in conjunction with colleagues at the University of Colorado at Fort Collins with the goal of producing a real-time diagnostic information for children with cystic fibrosis.


©Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Created by Alexander S. Ross

 Edited by J. Newell April, 2018