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Authors: Prof. Robin Williams and Gigi Williams

Biomedical applications: Pathology

Application Notes Reference
Specimens - human tissue First recorded use of infrared photography in medicine. Found that lung was almost opaque, heart, kidney, liver and brain were moderately transparent, and that muscle was relatively transparent. Gigon & Noverraz 1930
Neoplasms of stomach wall Concluded that the infrared technique distinguished between neoplasm and the normal tissue. Zimmerman 1936
Lung & placenta Lung and human placenta were injected with red cinnabar and black india ink. It was found that this gave much better contrast when photographing with infrared. The conclusion was that the infrared technique was of great value in revealing more morphological detail in specimens than other techniques. Massopust 1937
Lung Showed silicotic nodules in lung specimen with the infrared record in a study of silicotuberculosis. Mills 1937
Specimens Emphasized the value of red cinnabar to increase the contrast of specimens photographed with infrared radiation. Swindle 1940
Heart Stated that red subjects appeared white in the infrared record and described a heart having the coronary circulation washed out and replaced by gelatin loaded with bone black, thereby achieving a photograph showing black vessels on a white background. Royce 1940
Specimens - visceral tissues, intestine, placenta, neonatal spine Doctoral thesis that showed some examples of specimens. Heart muscle was shown to be highly reflective in the infrared record whilst the haemorrhagic areas on the lobes of the lung absorbed infrared quite strongly. The small and large intestines were differentiated markedly in the infrared record, while infarcts were highly reflective in the placenta. The infrared record of the neonatal spine demonstrated that underlying detail could be seen, thereby showing details of the nerve roots and the spinal cord not ordinarily visible. Marshall 1977
Specimens Showed the value of infrared photography for recording various types of specimen. Marshall 1979


  • Gigon, A. & Noverraz, M., 1930. "Zugleich ergebnisse von photographien mit infraroten strahlen," Zeitschrift f. Exp. Med. 71:525-537.
  • Marshall, R., 1977. "A study of the selective absorption of ultra-violet and infra-red radiation by some pigmented lesions of the skin," PhD Thesis, CNAA. London.
  • Marshall, R., 1979. "Infrared recording of gross specimens," Radiogr. Clin. Photog. 13:12.
  • Massopust, L., 1937. "Infrared photography of gross anatomical specimens," Arch. Path. 23:67-70.
  • Mills, G., 1937. "Infrared photography of gross specimens," Radiogr.Clin.Phot. 13:12-13.
  • Royce, C., 1940. "Infrared photography of gross specimens," J. Tech. Methods. 19:55-57.
  • Swindle, P., 1940. "Infrared photography and roentgenography of specimens injected with red cinnabar,"J. Biol. Photogr. Ass. 8 (3):105-110.
  • Zimmerman, C., 1936. "Aufnohmen auf Agfa infrarot platten in der wissenschaft lichmedizinishen photographie,:" Agfa Röntgen Blatter 626-32.

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Last modified: 3 May 2002