Speedy analysis

Episode 4: Faster diagnosis in the case of infections – the AnaLighter identifies sick cells in blood samples.


In future, doctors will be able to save valuable time with the AnaLighter – for example in the fight against multi-resistant hospital germs. The device analyses blood samples using laser beams. Up to 40 hours earlier than with conventional methods, doctors will know exactly which antibiotics are the right ones to use – a reduction of waiting time that could mean the difference between life and death.

This is how the AnaLighter works. 16 laser beams of different wavelengths cause components of a blood sample that have been previously marked with a colourant to glow. An optical detection system analyses this fluorescent light and identifies the respective endogenous and bacterial cells, or also the marker molecules that indicate certain diseases. These findings are sorted according to their specific characteristics. In this way, up to 16 cell types can be monitored simultaneously.

And who invented it? The procedure was developed by researchers at Aachen’s Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT.