In vivo, Cytophone has demonstrated the capability for the early diagnosis of cancer, infection, and cardiovascular disorders through photoacoustic detection of circulating disease markers directly in the bloodstream with an unprecedented 1,000-fold improvement in sensitivity. Nevertheless, a Cytophone with higher specificity and portability is urgently needed. Here, we introduce a novel Cytophone platform that integrates a miniature multispectral laser diode array, time-color coding, and high-speed time-resolved signal processing. Using two-color (808 nm/915 nm) laser diodes, we demonstrated spectral identification of white and red clots, melanoma cells, and hemozoin in malaria-infected erythrocytes against a blood background and artifacts. Data from a Plasmodium yoelii murine model and cultured human P. falciparum were verified in vitro with confocal photothermal and fluorescent microscopy. With these techniques, we detected infected cells within 4 h after invasion, which makes hemozoin promising as a spectrally selective marker at the earliest stages of malaria progression. Along with the findings from our previous application of Cytophone with conventional lasers for the diagnosis of melanoma, bacteremia, sickle anemia, thrombosis, stroke, and abnormal hemoglobin forms, this current finding suggests the potential for the development of a portable rainbow Cytophone with multispectral laser diodes for the identification of these and other diseases.
© 2022. The Author(s).