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Wavelength-Encoded Tomography - A New Type of Optical Coherence Tomography System

Wavelength-Encoded Tomography - A New Type of Optical Coherence Tomography System

Key Problem and Market Opportunity

  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a non-contact and non-invasive imaging technique to obtain fine resolution and cross-sectional images of tissue structure on the micron scale (µm), such as the retina, cornea, anterior chamber of eyes, cell imaging, tissue characterization, live blood flow imaging, etc.
  • In a conventional OCT systems, when a continuous-wave (CW) source is reflected from the sample, it is hard to differentiate the depth-induced delay. To measure the depth, a conventional OCT system requires a reference arm to give rise to an interference pattern for computing the distance. However, the optoelectronic component of reference arm limits the axial depth scan (A-Scan) speed of the existing OCT system, which is around 100kHz. 

Key Advantages of the Technology

Technology Section Slider 1
  • The current invention is a new type of OCT system named Wavelength-encoded tomography (WET). With this invention, an axial depth scan (A-Scan) of a sample can be obtained directly from the output of corresponding wavelength (λ) without the need of a reference arm.  Therefore, the speed limitation is removed. The invention has the following advantages: 1. provides better axial resolution than electrical Fourier transform and greatly simplifies the digital signal processing after data acquisition by utilizing one or more time-lenses to perform optical Fourier transform; 2. allows capturing tomographic images in non-invasive manner and enables ultrafast frame rate with high resolution and sensitivity; 3. allows overcoming inherent speed limitation of optical coherence tomography (OCT) and improves resolution in non-invasive cross-sectional imaging.

Potential Product and Services

  • The Wavelength-encoded tomography (WET) system provides orders of magnitude improvement on the frame rate, as high as megahertz, or even gigahertz in principle. The WET system also simplifies the system complexity. Therefore, it can be produced at a comparable cost to a conventional OCT system with the significant speed improvement.

Development status and IP Strength

  • Proof-of-Concept is completed
  • Patents have been granted in US, pending in EP and CN

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