For these procedures, as well as others now in clinical trials, such as imaging tumors, researchers use a portion of the light spectrum known as the near-infrared (NIR) -700 to 900 nanometers, just beyond what the human eye can detect. A dye that fluoresces at this wavelength is administered to the body or tissue and then imaged using a specialized camera. Researchers have shown that light with wavelengths greater than 1,000 nanometers, known as short-wave infrared (SWIR), offers much clearer images than NIR, but there are no FDA-approved fluorescence dyes with peak emission in the SWIR range.
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