Researchers at University of Southern California have developed a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) thermal sensor that can identify earliest stages of atherosclerosis.

The MEMS thermal sensor, which can be deployed by an angiogram catheter, uses convective heat transfer to detect pre-atherosclerotic regions of arteries.

In a study involving rabbit models, the MEMS thermal sensor was able to sensitively detect pre-atherosclerotic regions that otherwise showed no clinical signs of atherosclerosis.

The MEMS thermal sensor was developed by depositing titanium and platinum on a flexible polymer membrane and patterning them to form the sensing elements.

According to researchers, the MEMS sensor is a minimally invasive and sensitive technology, and has the potential for widespread and rapid application during diagnostic angiograms.