Nanoscribe is part of the new EU-funded research project HandheldOCT. In this joint project, scientists and engineers from universities, research institutes and companies are developing a handheld imaging device for mobile eye examination. Based on low-cost and miniaturized integrated photonic chip technology, the project is expected to bring Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) from stationary clinical use to a broader, mobile use in ophthalmologic care.
Nanoscribe joins European photonics research project for mobile medical imaging
The goal of the project HandheldOCT, which is led by the Medical University of Vienna, is to enable portable point-of-care eye examination using the well-established imaging technique of optical coherence tomography (OCT). For this purpose, mobile OCT devices based on advanced and cost-effective integrated photonic chips are being developed. The handheld OCT devices are expected to be used for the diagnosis and treatment monitoring of widespread eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma that are together the worldwide leading cause for blindness. The handheld ophthalmic devices will be tested by medical doctors from the Vienna General Hospital to validate their use for diagnosis and therapy.
The project consists of a team with seven partners from four European countries. Partners of this Horizon 2020 research project are the Medical University of Vienna (Austria), Tyndall National Institute (Ireland), imec (Belgium), AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH (Austria), Innolume GmbH (Germany), Carl Zeiss AG (Germany) and Nanoscribe GmbH (Germany).
Integrated photonics for mobile applications
In ophthalmology, OCT is a widespread and non-invasive imaging technique. The use of photonic integrated circuit technology in OCT can benefit from significant size and cost reductions by a high degree of integration.
The technological core of the project, the integrated photonic chip, is designed by researchers from AIT and imec and processed at the fab at imec. Its packaging and interfacing are realized by researchers from Tyndall National Institute which includes the at-chip microfabrication of freeform optics that is developed by Nanoscribe.
Moreover, researchers from Innolume develop a novel akinetically tunable light source that is another key component of the technology. The packaged photonic chip and the light source are integrated in a handheld ophthalmic system that is developed and realized by Carl Zeiss with the support of researchers at the Medical University of Vienna. The handheld system requires a high degree of integration and miniaturization of all the optics, mechanics and electronics, necessary for its clinical evaluation at the Medical University.