Flexible Single-Optical-Fibre Endoscope

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Electrical Engineering and Electronics

Abstract

Recently, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Korean University demonstrated a single multimode-optical-fibre (MMF) imaging endoscope. Compared with conventional fibre-bundle based endoscopes, this device is ultra-slim, high-resolution, wide-field, lensless, low cost and disposable. The main drawback of such devices is that they cannot be used as flexible endoscopes due to image blurring caused by fibre-shape variation. However, flexible endoscopes are viewed as most desirable and are widely used in modern healthcare. In order to overcome this problem, this research aims to develop the world's first flexible single-fibre endoscope system by using a novel speckle monitoring technique. The monitoring module will consist of a calibration beam and associated optics to monitor the real-time changes in mode coupling induced by fibre movement and bending. The monitoring results will be used to predict MMF imaging transmission matrix for original image restoration. At the end of the project, a prototype device together with real-time software and algorithms will be developed for potential clinical trials and translational research. The project is highly interdisciplinary: it brings together expertise in the areas of optics, instrumentation, imaging, signal processing and surgery. The outcome of the proposed research has the potential to put the UK at the forefront of a crucial emerging area of new medical devices for modern endoscopy, which is likely to have a huge impact not only on research and patient well-being, but also on the UK and global economy.

Planned Impact

i) Healthcare and well-being: The proposed flexible single-fibre endoscope is ultras-slim, high resolution, low cost and disposable. Therefore, such a device is unique in minimally-invasive diagnosis and surgery, and will have a huge impact on healthcare and well-being. Firstly, this is due to not only the growing patient preferences but also those benefits to the healthcare system such as reduced length of stay in the hospital and cost saving, etc. Secondly, in applications such as neurosurgery and urogenital surgery, the smallest possible imaging probe needs to be used due to the nature of the tissues and organs involved. The minimally invasive procedure depends on the size of imaging probe used. The proposed device will make existing minimally-invasive procedures even less invasive. As a result, in-vivo endoscope imaging could be extended to currently unreachable surgery areas. Thirdly, the proposed device has the great potential in early detection of life-threatening diseases such as cancer. It is of vital importance for such diseases to be diagnosed and treated at an early stage, which will greatly reduce trauma and mortality.

ii) Endoscope industry: Endoscopy is the only solution to obtain high-resolution, microscopic images in deep tissues. Since the 1960s, most of minimally-invasive endoscopes have been made of dense bundles of optical fibres. The estimated global market size for endoscope industry will be more than £27 billion in 2020. Of these, flexible endoscope has a share of more than 70%. The proposed flexible single multimode optical fibre (MMF) device will lead to the next generation minimally-invasive high-resolution endoscope devices in this industry. The ultra-thin diameter and high resolution of the proposed device make it perfect for many challenging applications. The low-cost MMF-based endoscope can be disposable, which eliminates the risk of cross-contamination and possible exposure to infectious diseases when reusing the endoscope probe.


ii) Veterinary medicine: Similar as in healthcare, endoscopic procedure is widely used. In particular, for small animals, the miniaturized endoscope probe is the most desirable. The proposed ultra-slim device will have a significant impact in the field of veterinary medicine and will lead to advances in animal researches. Furthermore, the disposable feature is viewed as very appealing by veterinary clinics, as at present the cost for minimally invasive endoscopy probes is too high (above £20k) and the probes will have to be reused for many times usually above their lifetime limit.


iv) Optical Imaging: The miniature-size, super-resolution and flexibility offered by the proposed device are likely to lead to a revolution in probe-based optical imaging. Apart from the endoscopic applications, the diffraction limit resolution of the proposed device makes it very close to a high resolution microscope, and can be used to see very subtle details of materials (e.g. quantum gases) or biological tissues (e.g. single cells in deep tissues). In addition, miniaturized imaging probe have found many applications in industry and research. This include, for example, examination of aircraft combustion and blade chambers, inspection of pipes in oil and energy industry, viewing inside walls and ducts of buildings, internal examination of statues and tombs in archaeology.

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/L022559/1 31/08/2014 31/08/2015 £100,504
EP/L022559/2 Transfer EP/L022559/1 01/12/2015 30/11/2016 £72,355
 
Description Imaging via a multimode optical fiber is a new and emerging research field (the concept was introduced in 2012). It has attracted much interest in optical imaging and fiber optics, and the focus is particularly on the experimental side so far, although a complete theoretical investigation is highly desirable. Our theoretical model for the single multimode fiber (MMF) imaging, presented in this paper, is believed to be the first complete theoretical model to describe and study the single MMF imaging system, by evaluating the transmission and coupling of individual guided modes in the imaging MMF. Based on our model, specific mode-coupling conditions can be analysed and the corresponding transmission matrices can be calculated. This should provide important insights into future MMF imaging system developments.
Exploitation Route A journal paper entitled "Modeling of a Single Multimode Fiber Imaging System"is completed and is to be submitted. The theoretical model described in the paper will help the researchers working in this field to design better imaging system and use the theory to further understand the experimental results.
Sectors Healthcare

 
Description CSC Visiting Scholar - Dr Haimei Luo
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Leeds 
Department China Scholarship Council
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2016 
End 11/2017
 
Description CSC Visiting Scholar - Prof Chen Liu
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Leeds 
Department China Scholarship Council
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2014 
End 04/2015
 
Description EPSRC QMUL IAA
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Organisation Queen Mary University of London 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2016 
End 03/2017
 
Description HUST Student exchange funding - Jiajia Zhao
Amount £8,000 (GBP)
Organisation Huazhong University of Science and Technology 
Sector Academic/University
Country China
Start 12/2016 
End 05/2017
 
Description PhD Studentship - Mr Liang Deng
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Liverpool 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2013 
End 09/2017
 
Description PhD Studentship - Mr Zhe Shen
Amount £80,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Liverpool 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2013 
End 09/2017
 
Description QMUL Full PhD Studentship - Michael Ruddlesden
Amount £80,000 (GBP)
Organisation Queen Mary University of London 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2016 
End 08/2020
 
Description QMUL-CSC (China) PhD Studentship - Jinshuai Zhang
Amount £90,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Leeds 
Department China Scholarship Council
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 09/2020
 
Description QMUL-Conacyt (Mexico) PhD Studentship - Karen Blankenangel
Amount £90,000 (GBP)
Organisation National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT) 
Sector Public
Country Mexico
Start 10/2016 
End 09/2020
 
Description Royal Society International Exchange Scheme China NSFC
Amount £12,000 (GBP)
Funding ID IE161214 
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2017 
End 03/2019
 
Description The Single Optical Fibre Scalpel
Amount £156,364 (GBP)
Funding ID H2020 790666 
Organisation European Research Council (ERC) 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 09/2018 
End 09/2020
 
Description Partnership with Industry - YOFC China 
Organisation Yangtze Optical Fibre & Cable (Shanghai) Company Ltd.
Country China 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We designed a new imaging fibre and YOFC is the collaborator to help us fabricate this fibre.
Collaborator Contribution YOFC Ltd is the largest optical fibre manufacturer in China with strong expertise and state-of-the-art facilities to fabricate special optical fibres. YOFC is making the special optical imaging fibres for us in this award.
Impact A new optical fibre is being developed.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Partnership with clinical end users - Dr Mohammed Thaha, Royal London Hospital 
Organisation Royal London Hospital
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution To design and develop single multimode optical fibre microendoscope for colorectal surgery conducted by the clinical end user.
Collaborator Contribution To provide clinical expertise in supporting the development of the microendoscope.
Impact Lead to Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) award of £40k Including disciplines: Engineering, Optics, and Surgery
Start Year 2020
 
Description Partnership with industry - Covidien 
Organisation Covidien
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Develop imaging probes that can be inserted in to the surgical devices of Covidien.
Collaborator Contribution Provide technical advices and provide surgical devices.
Impact Collaboration with industry.
Start Year 2016
 
Description OECC 2015 Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Around 50 academics attended this invited talk in the conference.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015