Ophthalmic OCT on a Chip (OCTCHIP)
(Start: 1.1.2016; 48 months duration)

 

Participant organisation name Expertise / role Country
Medical University Vienna OCT, clinical translation Austria
EXALOS SLED and swept source manufacturer Switzerland
Tyndall National Institute Photonics packaging & integration Ireland
AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH Integrated optics design & testing Austria
Fraunhofer Institut für integrierte Schaltungen Sensor signal processing - ADCs Germany
ams AG Semiconductor wafer fabrication Austria
Carl Zeiss AG Ophthalmic OCT manufacturer Germany

 

OCTCHIP - MOTIVATION / BACKGROUND
• Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a medical diagnostic technique that can be considered as a non-invasive optical analogue of ultrasound providing 2D or 3D tomograms with significantly higher lateral (10-15 µm) as well as axial (1-10 µm) resolution.
• In ophthalmology OCT is commercialized since about 20 years but at the moment none of these 5th generation commercial ophthalmic OCT systems is low-cost or miniaturized.
• All commercial systems comprise optical fibers and free-space optical components, which make them costly (up to 100k€) and bulky (table space of > 0.15 m3) as well as sensitive to misalignment resulting in high maintenance costs.

OCTCHIP - SOLUTION
• The size and cost of OCT systems can be significantly decreased by the use of photonic integrated circuits (PICs), which combine planar optical waveguides and electronics. A suitable PIC fabrication and packaging technology combined with optimum design will allow the realization of extremely compact, low-cost, and even higher performing OCT systems.
• In addition to its low cost and small footprint, this approach provides mechanical stability due to its monolithic and essentially alignment-free construction. On top of that, the use of integrated optics and electronics provides a significant manufacturing scalability advantage arising from the micro-fabrication processes (the envisaged silicon-based platform).

OCTCHIP – ENVISAGED GOALS
For a widespread adoption in ophthalmic point-of-care screening OCTCHIP will develop an OCT system:
• with a target price 3x cheaper than momentary commercial OCT systems
• with a >4x faster diagnostic imaging performance than momentary commercial OCT systems
• with further prerequisites including an extremely small footprint, ease-of-use, and high reliability making the system virtually maintenance-free.