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  • Scanner takes OCT systems to new Capbilities

Scanner takes OCT systems to new Capbilities

Jan 20 2021 Read 522 Times

Scientists at Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam developing a real-time scanner that will create a full image of a moving eye without any blurring, have teamed up with photonics hub ACTPHAST 4R for help progressing their scanner concept to a demonstrator stage to acquire data faster than existing optical imaging technologies.  

The lead researcher on this breakthrough development, Assistant Professor Imran Avci from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at VU Amsterdam, said: “Diagnoses of eye diseases that could lead to blindness require good quality images at an early stage. Eye abnormalities can be so very subtle in the early phase that standard OCT can miss these tiny changes. Because our eyes are constantly moving to refresh the visual input, even at a microscopic level, it makes eye imaging very difficult without having blurred images.  Our scanner is different: with the data acquired fast enough, the overall goal is to have a real-time imaging system. The rapid switch will enable us to perform real-time high quality moving footage, or a ‘video’ of your eye.” 

The scanner works by acquiring data from the light signal at rapid speeds by ‘bundling’ groups of information together. “Our new scanner will acquire the light signal data at least hundred times quicker than OCT systems that exist today. Taking 100 to 120 reference points, our scanner 'bundles' them together, acquiring 20 arms at a time. However, it is our patented 'switch' that moves from bundle to bundle in nanoseconds that gives us the ability to quickly acquire the images in real-time," said Dr Avci.

Dr Avci’s team were able to access technical and business coaching to advance the scanner concept towards an actual product by working with ACTPHAST 4R - an EU innovation hub providing researchers throughout Europe access to expertise and technologies in photonics to produce demonstrators for their scientific breakthroughs, similar to the separate ACTPHAST 4.0 innovation hub for European companies, especially SMEs.

ACTPHAST 4R Coordinator, Prof Hugo Thienpont of the Brussels Photonics Team (B-PHOT) at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) said: “Researchers like Dr Avci do not have easy access to the relevant cutting-edge photonics expertise and technologies within their own universities or even their own regions. The ACTPHAST 4R support is crucial to bridging the gap between concept and demonstrator. At this early stage for researchers, it means turning their scientific concepts into practical demonstrators which are cutting-edge and industrially relevant.  If the demonstrator is successful, then they can look at commercialisation options such as licensing or a spin-out company from the university, and taking it to the next stage of a working prototype.”

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