Feature Of The Week 1/27/13: An Exciting and Promising Area for OCT System Research and Commercial Opportunities
One of the most promising areas for OCT system research is the pursuit of photonic integrated circuits (PICs) and optoelectronic integrated circuits (OEICs) for OCT systems. Such approaches offer to dramatically reduce the size, weight, power, and costs of future OCT systems. Such reductions could enable increase adoption of OCT in existing markets and open up a wide range of new applications and markets for OCT. While there remain several difficult challenges ahead there has already been massive R&D investments (~$100M) and major advances in this area in the fiber optic telecommunication industry and those advances are poised to have a synergistic and enabling impact on biomedical optics. There are several research groups and some startup companies pursuing this goal. Researchers at the Academic Medical Center at the University of Amsterdam have published some interesting results in this area. Below is a summary of their work.
Eric A. Swanson
OCT is a highly successful technique that is routinely used in ophthalmology and intravascular imaging. Still, the widespread use of OCT in medicine and in other application areas, such as forensics, biometrics, and process control, is held back by its high costs and large form factor. Current OCT systems consist of a large number of bulky and expensive optical and electronic components. Integrated optics has the potential to make OCT devices and components significantly smaller, more functional, and more cost efficient.
Within the MEMPHIS (Merging Electronics and Micro & Nano-Photonics in Integrated Systems) and IOP photonic devices project, researchers from the Biomedical Engineering and Physics Department, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam and LioniX bv., Enschede, have carried out research on an integrated-optics-based swept-source OCT system. The complete integrated-optics OCT chip has a footprint of 0.4 cm × 1.8 cm. OCT measurements, performed with a moveable mirror, demonstrate a sensitivity of −80 dB and imaging up to the maximum depth of 5.09 mm. Corrected for dispersion, the measured OCT axial resolution is 12.7 micron, which is in good agreement with the bandwidth limited resolution. Finally, cross-sectional OCT imaging of a multilayered tissue phantom is demonstrated over the whole depth range. Our results clearly indicate the feasibility of integrated-optics-based OCT imaging.
For more information see recent Article. Courtesy Jeroen Kalkman and Duc Nguyen from the Academic Medical Center at the University of Amsterdam.