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  • It's an increasingly common sight in hospitals around the world:

    這是在全世界的醫院 愈來愈常見的景象:

  • a nurse measures our height, weight, blood pressure,

    護士量我們的身高、體重、血壓

  • and attaches a glowing plastic clip to our finger.

    和夾一個會發光的塑膠夾 在我們指頭。

  • Suddenly, a digital screen reads out the oxygen level in our bloodstream.

    瞬間,一個數位螢幕顯示了 我們的血氧濃度。

  • How did that happen?

    怎麼會這樣呢?

  • How can a plastic clip learn something about our blood

    沒有血液檢體,

  • without a blood sample?

    塑膠夾是如何判讀血液呢?

  • Here's the trick:

    關鍵在此:

  • our bodies are translucent,

    身體是半透明的,

  • meaning they don't completely block and reflect light.

    這表示他們不能完全阻擋及反射光線。

  • Rather, they allow some light to actually pass through our skin,

    反而是身體可讓一些光穿透皮膚、

  • muscles, and blood vessels.

    肌肉和血管。

  • Don't believe it?

    不信嗎?

  • Hold a flashlight to your thumb.

    拿一個手電筒照大拇指,

  • Light, it turns out, can help probe the insides of our bodies.

    可看到其實光是可協助 探測身體的內部。

  • Consider that medical fingerclip

    以剛剛那個醫用指夾為例,

  • it's called a pulse oximeter.

    它叫「脈搏血氧儀」。

  • When you inhale, your lungs transfer oxygen into hemoglobin molecules,

    當吸氣時,肺將氧氣 轉到血紅蛋白的分子上,

  • and the pulse oximeter measures the ratio of oxygenated to oxygen-free hemoglobin.

    脈搏血氧儀量出「氧合血紅素」 和「去氧血紅素」的比例。

  • It does this by using a tiny red LED light on one side of the fingerclip,

    它在指夾的一側,運用了小型紅色的 「發光二極體 (LED)」光源,

  • and a small light detector on the other.

    而指夾另一側有個小型光感測器。

  • When the LED shines into your finger,

    當 LED 光穿透指頭時,

  • oxygen-free hemoglobin in your blood vessels absorbs the red light

    血管中的去氧血紅素 吸收紅色光的能力,

  • more strongly than its oxygenated counterpart.

    遠遠超過氧合血紅素。

  • So the amount of light that makes it out the other side

    所以有多少光從另一側出來,

  • depends on the concentration ratio of the two types of hemoglobin.

    取決於這兩種血紅蛋白的比例。

  • But any two patients will have different-sized blood vessels in their fingers.

    但任何兩個病患的指頭內 血管大小都不相同,

  • For one patient, a saturation reading of ninety-five percent

    對一位病患而言, 95% 的血氧飽和度

  • corresponds to a healthy oxygen level,

    是個健康血氧濃度值,

  • but for another with smaller arteries,

    而對另一位動脈較小的病患,

  • the same reading could dangerously misrepresent the actual oxygen level.

    相同的數值可能危險地誤判 他的真正血氧濃度。

  • This can be accounted for with a second infrared wavelength LED.

    這可利用第二個 紅外線波長的 LED 光來矯正。

  • Light comes in a vast spectrum of wavelengths,

    光有極多不同的波長,

  • and infrared light lies just beyond the visible colors.

    而且紅外光是在可見光之外。

  • All molecules, including hemoglobin,

    所有的分子,包括血紅蛋白,

  • absorb light at different efficiencies across this spectrum.

    在光譜中的吸光率各不相同,

  • So contrasting the absorbance of red to infrared light

    所以比較紅光與紅外光被吸收多少

  • provides a chemical fingerprint to eliminate the blood vessel size effect.

    而產生的「化學指紋」圖案,可去除血管大小不同的誤差。

  • Today, an emerging medical sensor industry is exploring all-new degrees

    現在,新的醫學感測器產業在研究

  • of precision chemical fingerprinting,

    各種不同精確化學指紋的方法,

  • using tiny light-manipulating devices no larger than a tenth of a millimeter.

    他們運用各種不超過 0.1公釐的微小光學元件,

  • This microscopic technology,

    這種顯微技術

  • called integrated photonics,

    稱為「積體光學」,

  • is made from wires of silicon that guide light

    它採用矽製的線來導引光──

  • like water in a pipe

    正如水管導引水──

  • to redirect, reshape, even temporarily trap it.

    使其改變方向、改變形狀、 甚至暫時截住它。

  • A ring resonator device, which is a circular wire of silicon,

    一種環狀共振裝置, 是一種圓形的矽線,

  • is a light trapper that enhances chemical fingerprinting.

    它能截取光 而提高化學指紋的清晰度。

  • When placed close to a silicon wire,

    把這裝置靠近另一矽線時,

  • a ring siphons off and temporarily stores only certain waves of light

    它可吸取和暫時貯存特定的光波──

  • those whose periodic wavelength fits a whole number of times

    只要這光的週期波長 其整數倍數中的一個值

  • along the ring's circumference.

    等於這環的周長即可。

  • It's the same effect at work when we pluck guitar strings.

    彈吉他時也是相同原理。

  • Only certain vibrating patterns dominate a string of a particular length,

    一條特定長度的弦, 只有在某些震動型式下,

  • to give a fundamental note and its overtones.

    才能產生出「基音」和「泛音」。

  • Ring resonators were originally designed

    環狀共振裝置最初設計

  • to efficiently route different wavelengths of light

    是為有效地導引不同波長的光──

  • each a channel of digital data

    每道光都是數字數據──

  • in fiber optics communication networks.

    行走於光纖通訊網路中。

  • But some day this kind of data traffic routing

    可是未來某天, 這種數據流量傳輸

  • may be adapted for miniature chemical fingerprinting labs,

    可適用在微型化學指紋檢驗室中,

  • on chips the size of a penny.

    在一分錢大小的晶片上。

  • These future labs-on-a-chip may easily, rapidly,

    這未來的晶片檢驗室 可以輕易迅速地

  • and non-invasively detect a host of illnesses,

    且非侵入性地檢驗很多疾病,

  • by analyzing human saliva or sweat in a doctor's office

    採用分析唾液或汗液,

  • or the convenience of our homes.

    且是在醫生診間 或在我們自己家中做。

  • Human saliva in particular

    特別是人體唾液

  • mirrors the composition of our bodies' proteins and hormones,

    與體內蛋白質和賀爾蒙的組成相似,

  • and can give early-warning signals for certain cancers

    且能提供某些癌症、感染

  • and infectious and autoimmune diseases.

    及自體免疫性疾病的早期預警。

  • To accurately identify an illness,

    為了準確診斷疾病,

  • labs-on-a-chip may rely on several methods,

    晶片檢驗室可能仰賴多種方法,

  • including chemical fingerprinting,

    包括化學指紋,

  • to sift through the large mix of trace substances in a sample of spit.

    以便在唾液檢體中 篩出許多重要的物質。

  • Various biomolecules in saliva absorb light at the same wavelength

    唾液中的各種生物分子 可吸收相同波長的光──

  • but each has a distinct chemical fingerprint.

    但每個分子 會產生不同的化學指紋。

  • In a lab-on-a-chip, after the light passes through a saliva sample,

    在晶片檢驗室, 光穿透唾液檢體後,

  • a host of fine-tuned rings

    許多精調過的環

  • may each siphon off a slightly different wavelength of light

    各會吸取不同波長的光,

  • and send it to a partner light detector.

    而後將光轉到 其對應的光感測器上。

  • Together, this bank of detectors will resolve

    這組感測器會共同做出

  • the cumulative chemical fingerprint of the sample.

    這檢體的化學指紋。

  • From this information, a tiny on-chip computer,

    利用這個訊息, 一個微小晶片上的電腦

  • containing a library of chemical fingerprints for different molecules,

    貯存了很多不同分子的化學指紋,

  • may figure out their relative concentrations,

    可算出每個分子的濃度,

  • and help diagnose a specific illness.

    從而協助診斷特定的疾病。

  • From globe-trotting communications to labs-on-a-chip,

    從全球通訊到晶片檢驗室,

  • humankind has repurposed light to both carry and extract information.

    人類利用光來傳輸及獲得訊息。

  • Its ability to illuminate continues to astonish us with new discoveries.

    光的照明能力不斷帶給我們令人驚訝的新發現。

It's an increasingly common sight in hospitals around the world:

這是在全世界的醫院 愈來愈常見的景象:

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你比你想象的更透明--薩詹-塞尼。 (You are more transparent than you think - Sajan Saini)

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    ktyvr258 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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