TomoWave Laboratories, Inc., Award Announcement

Clubs and Organizations

October 18, 2014


TomoWave Laboratories, Inc., Houston, Texas is pleased to announce that Dr. Alexander Oraevsky has been awarded the First Place Innovations Prize from Berthold Leibinger Foundation for invention and development of the laser optoacoustic imaging system and method.

Houston, TX - Light and sound are two well-known physical phenomena critically important for human perception. Dr. Alexander Oraevsky has been awarded the first prize of the Berthold Leibinger Innovationspreis 2014 for the invention and development of a new technique that utilized both light and sound for biomedical imaging. "By converting light into acoustic pressure under appropriate illumination conditions and then detecting the resulting ultrasonic waves, it is possible to see under the skin deep into human tissues," explains Dr. Oraevsky.

Imaging techniques are used in biomedical research to learn and understand anatomy and molecular composition of the human body for purposes of clinical diagnostics. Images help doctors search for health problems or screen for internal lesions before an illness evolves into a life threatening disease. But each technique only allows for the visualization of very specific properties with many restrictions to its application. While everybody knows that x-rays can visualize bones or ultrasonic devices can examine unborn infants, these pictures from the inside of the body in many cases cannot reveal the important medical details. Additional powerful techniques like MRI exist, but these are very expensive and they too have own limitations.

In the early 1990s, Dr. Oraevsky found that the light producing sound can be used for imaging of biological tissues. His technique of laser optoacoustic imaging uses nanosecond-short laser light pulses to generate ultrasonic waves inside the tissue which are detected outside the body. This allows for excellent spatial resolution and a high molecular specificity of the signals. The main current development in the clinical use of this method is to look through human breast tissue to find cancerous tumors, differentiate those tumors from noncancerous masses and assess the effectiveness of anticancer therapy.

Alexander Oraevsky began his pioneering work in the field of optoacoustic imaging, sensing and monitoring in 1987 after obtaining a doctorate laser biophysics. At TomoWave Laboratories he and a team of scientists and engineers work on expanding the technological frontiers and pushing commercialization of three-dimensional tomography systems. "I accept this prize as an award to the entire community of optoacoustic imaging and sensing," Alexander said at the award ceremony held at Trumpf corporate facilities in Ditzingen, Germany on September 26, 2014.

The Berthold Leibinger Innovations Prize recognizes researchers and developers, who take new directions in the application of lasers. The foundation has been awarding the prize every two years since 2000 for excellent innovative works in the application or generation of laser light. In 2014 the first prize was selected from 32 applications by an international jury composed of 11 top scientists (including Nobel Prize winners), doctors and commercialization experts.