Tissue-mimicking materials for breast phantoms up to 50 GHz

Abstract : Millimeter (mm)-wave imaging has been recently proposed as a new technique for breast cancer detection, based on the significant dielectric contrast between healthy and tumor tissues. Here we propose a procedure to fabricate, electromagnetically characterize and preserve realistic breast tissue-mimicking phantoms for testing mm-wave imaging prototypes. Low-cost, non-toxic and easy-to-produce mixtures made of sunflower oil, water and gelatin were prepared and their dielectric properties were for the first time measured in the [0.5-50] GHz frequency range using a coaxial probe kit. Different oil and gelatin percentages were tested. An alternative recipe based on a waste-oil hardener was also proposed. Finally, water and sunflower oil were investigated as preservation media. The mixtures electromagnetic properties were in good agreement with those of human breast ex vivo samples. By changing the ingredient concentrations or using different solidifying agents it was possible to mimic different tissue types. Besides, we show that sunflower oil represents an effective preservation medium for the developed materials. The first breast phantom mimicking a tumor mass into healthy tissues up to 50 GHz was also successfully fabricated. Results demonstrated the potential of the designed recipes to mimic breast tissues with different biological characteristics, 2 preserving dielectric properties over time. Thus, this study represents a fundamental step towards the development of heterogeneous breast phantoms able to mimic the electromagnetic behavior of healthy and tumor tissues for mm-wave imaging applications.
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Simona Di Meo, Simona Meo, Lorenzo Pasotti, Ioannis Iliopoulos, Marco Pasian, et al.. Tissue-mimicking materials for breast phantoms up to 50 GHz. Physics in Medicine and Biology, IOP Publishing, 2019, 64 (5), pp.055006. ⟨10.1088/1361-6560/aafeec⟩. ⟨hal-02079680⟩

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