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Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a revolutionizing in-vivo 3D imaging technique for non-invasive optical biopsy addressing medical needs in early diagnosis and effective disease management. OCT has proven its value primarily in ophthalmology but more recently also in a variety of other medical fields.

However, wide adoption in health care, a requirement for effective therapy control, has not taken place mainly due to cost limitations and the non-existence of miniaturized mobile devices.

Integrated photonics is expected to leverage off many advances made in integrated electronics. Based on photonic integrated circuit technology,

HandheldOCT will enable a new generation of handheld OCT systems in the 1060nm wavelength region for optimum tissue penetration with step-changes in imaging performance (4x faster imaging speed), with size (10x smaller) and cost (2-5x cheaper) beyond state-of-the-art. The monolithic integration of silicon nitride optical waveguides, Germanium photodiodes, and micro-optics combined with the hybrid integration of a novel compact all-semiconductor akinetic swept source will enable a mobile, low-cost solution of high usability. HandheldOCT is expected to contribute significantly to a widespread adoption of OCT in point-of-care diagnostics (e.g. for new-born, children, bedridden elderly, home remote diagnosis) and for diagnostic-driven therapy of major sight-threatening, mostly age-related retinal pathologies with the aim to improve patient outcome and reduce healthcare costs.

The endeavour is strongly driven by companies and research organisations with solid expertise in silicon foundry technology, miniaturized laser sources, photonic design and packaging, electronics, and medical OCT system integration.

The consortium includes clinicians and the world-leading ophthalmic equipment manufacturer focusing on implementing diagnostically relevant specifications and the translational clinical proof-of-principle testing on a small patient cohort.

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