Sub-Cellular OCT Imaging

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Electronic and Electrical Engineering


Optical coherence tomography (OCT) allows the 3D imaging of skin tissue on a depth scale of ~1-2mm with resolution ~10um. It has been described as an optical analog of ultrasound imaging and offers significantly better resolution than MRI and ultrasound. It has already gained clinical acceptance in ophthalmology and is emerging into other fields such as oncology, monitoring wound healing, cardiology, and guided surgery. The advantages of OCT include:-

Video rate images of sub-surface morphology at resolutions ~100 better than ultrasound and voxel rates ~1000 higher than microscopy.
Label-free imaging of the sample (in vivo or in vitro).
Non-ionizing radiation.

OCT is ideal for imaging 1~2mm below the surface in biological tissue. Our project is concerned with the development of a prototype swept laser source with 200 - 300 nm sweep range providing sub cellular resolution. We will develop the laser system and trial it in an OCT imagining system.


10 25 50
Description We developed quantum dot based light sources for non-invasive 3d biomedical imaging of skin tissue. Such imaging was demonstrated for the first time. We showed that these light sources harness the special properties of these nano-structures allowing high resolution, an low feedback sensitivity. We also developed new device structures applicable to enhancing the operation of this family of devices.
Exploitation Route These findings pave the way for the development of broad bandwidth devices at a range of wavelengths for various applications. These range from in-situ characterisation of parts manufactured via 3D printing in the near and mid-infra-red. Visible devices may find application in high resolution confocal microscopes for non-destructive testing and opthalmic imaging.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

Description Broadband QDs 
Organisation Lasertel Inc
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We developed broad spectral bandwidth semiconductor gain sources for biomedical imaging applications.
Collaborator Contribution The provided epitaxial material, marketting data and fabricated devices.
Impact Continued partnership in research into QD laser devices.
Start Year 2013
Title Semiconductor light emitting element 
Description We developed a new broadband active element which utilizes quantum dots to modulate (broaden) the emission of conventional quantum well active elements. 
IP Reference JPA 2014012838 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2014
Licensed Yes
Impact This is part of the IP portfolio of an SME, but has not yet been realised as product.