Disease diagnostics: Third-harmonic generation reveals malarial infection


Canadian researchers have developed a technique that relies on nonlinear optical effects to detect the existence and extent of the malaria parasite in human blood. The advance offers the promise of low-cost, self-contained, field-portable kits to diagnose the disease effectively in regions where it is endemic and qualified technicians are rare. A team led by Paul Wiseman, associate professor of chemistry and physics at McGill University has proposed a far less labour-intensive method to achieve the same result. It relies on the nonlinear optical effect known as third-harmonic generation.