The use of radiative transfer theory, quantitative spectroscopy and physical optics to advance noninvasive monitoring of living systems.

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Joseph Chaiken

Subject Categories

Physical Sciences and Mathematics


The overall aim is to advance the use of light in the noninvasive monitoring of living systems generally defined. Radiative transfer theory, quantitative spectroscopy and physical optics are used to probe systems without any other physical contact or sampling. We first describe research work to non-invasively track metabolic activity as a measure of cell viability using Raman Spectroscopy. To develop technology to allow in vivo studies of cell culture viability in real time without disruption of the growing culture, we initially physically sampled the medium of viable cultures over time. This success showed that non-invasively testing the medium in the culture flask in real time with mammalian cells present is feasible. Opening the culture flask or other containers must be avoided for monitoring to satisfy an FDA requirement for stem cell production facilities. Future work will characterize the viability of stem cells and the effects of antifreeze proteins (AFPs) on cell culture. The second part of this research focuses on using Raman Spectroscopy to observe the effects of x-ray irradiation cancer treatment on bone. A murine model involving both tibias and femurs was used as a prelude to human studies. Differences between control bones, irradiated bones, and the contra-lateral limb of the irradiated bones were assessed using depolarization ratios and other Raman spectral markers. The long term goals are to determine if there is any correlation between the strength and durability of bones pre and post irradiation and the internal effects of the radiation on protein and fat metabolism in bone.


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