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Applications  B  iosensors are used to sense cellular processes and develop therapies accordingly  Biosensors are used to detect specific viruses in biological samples  Biosensors are used to identify bacterial pathogens  Biosensors are used to assist direct diagnosis of carcinogenesis  Biosensors are used to detect parasites and toxins. Image processing Medical images are often complex and have poor visual quality; this makes their interpretation rather subjective. Machine vision can be used to help analyse images such as radiographs and magnetic resonance (MR) scans, giving experts more time to do tasks that cannot be automated.

Medical experts are also required; they are needed to establish diagnostic criteria and to assess the results.  Data handling: medical imaging produces large amounts of data in 3D, multimodal and dynamic images.  Quality and reproducibility: medical images are extremely valuable and an incorrect diagnosis or analysis can have devastating consequences.  Validation of algorithms: it is crucial to do careful validation of algorithms on clinical cases. Here are some aspects that are specific to imaging research:  The sophistication and variety of imaging techniques  The increasing need for quantitative image analysis  The data is often very noisy and at the limit of resolution  The multiplicity dimensions: 2D or 3D, time (dynamic imaging), multispectral  The acquisition process: optical system (2D or 3D point spread function), noise.

Coated optical fibres Coated optical fibres are cost-effective and reliable sensors for rapid detection and identification of chemical and biological agents. They withstand high temperatures and possess very high strength. Metal-coated optical fibres are used in scanning near-field optical microscopy (SNOM). To obtain a higher resolution than conventional optical microscopes, SNOM uses single-mode optical fibres to illuminate areas considerably smaller than a wavelength. This is achieved by giving the fibres a metallic coating.

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