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Capturing high resolution images of breast calcifications using scanning electron microscopy

The team have for the first time imaged breast tissue using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) which has provided high resolution images of breast microcalcifications. These images have revealed an interesting additional level of microstructural detail, as can be seen in the figure below showing the ringed structure of a calcification. Images of this detail may help to shed light on pathogenesis of calcifications when used in conjunction with other characterisation methods. The work has been published in The British Journal of Radiology, and details the type of microstructure observable using SEM, and were taken in the course of making compositional measurements. This forms part of the wider project into correlating physicochemical characteristics of calcifications with pathology in breast lesions.

Figure 1: (a) Unmagnified lateral mammogram, (b) Magnified area showing cluster of calcifications, (c) SEM image of section from a core through the cluster, showing the size distribution of the calcifications, (d) Magnified SEM image showing ringed microstructure of a calcification.

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