Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


NANO UB-SOURCES Report Summary

Project ID: 017128
Funded under: FP6-IST
Country: Denmark

Optical broad bandwidth sources

The scope of NANO UB-Sources is to develop a new generation of broad bandwidth, compact, cost-effective, user-friendly lasers based on photonic device technology that enable significant improvement in early cancer diagnosis and monitoring of retinal diseases that are worldwide leading causes of blindness in the aging population. Modern medicine emphasises development of diagnostic techniques that detect disease in its early stages, when treatment is most effective and irreversible damage can be pre-vented or delayed. Using the new light source technology developed by the consortium in optical coherence tomography (OCT) and time-resolved spectroscopy make it possible to obtain relevant clinical data both for diagnosing disease early, when treatment is most effective, and to accurately track disease progression.

In today's OCT systems the performance-limiting bottlenecks are the relatively narrow bandwidth of the light sources currently available and the output power level. By extending this bandwidth two- or three-fold axial resolution is increased from tens of microns to the subcellular scale, which essentially represents a breakthrough in non-invasive imaging. NANO UB-Sources addresses this bottleneck issue by developing light sources based on structuring quantum dots (QD) distributions using epitaxial methods. Hence, the consortium will generate the first QD based superluminescent diode with a tapered waveguide. Within this project, specially tailored PCFs are also realised for the purpose of providing broad spectra via pumping by picosecond sources. For both choices of technology, the main challenge will be achieving broad bandwidth operation at relatively high output power levels, i.e., tens of mW, in order to obtain signal-to-noise-ratios of interest for clinical applications. Furthermore, the epitaxial methods to be used for nanostructuring, characterisation tasks and modelling techniques advance materials science in the field. NANO UB-Sources thus contributes to new understanding on the influence of parameters, such as dot density, composition and size in QD structures on their optical proper-ties. Finally, the sources are compact and cost-effective.

The resulting system development within NANO UB-Sources enable unprecedented non-invasive, in-vivo early diagnosis of diseases that are worldwide leading causes for blindness as well as cancer diagnosis of neoplastic changes and real time therapy monitoring in dermatology. The direct impact will be early detection in a variety of ocular pathologies such as age-related macular degeneration and the possibility for early cancer diagnosis in the area of dermatology.

In the short term, the technology developed in NANO UB-Sources is imperative in order to overcome the performance-limiting bottleneck for clinical applications of OCT and tissue diagnostic spectroscopy. Overcoming this bottleneck leads to new, significant commercial markets. In particular, the axial resolution of OCT, which is related to the source bandwidth, must be improved, which is exactly the purpose of NANO UB-Sources.

In the long term, applications within important market segments, such as optical fibre sensors, automotive applications (gyroscopes, accelerometers, etc.) or telecom, would benefit directly from the developed devices. Moreover, the gained knowledge on the fundamental laser design and manufacturing processes will lead to new or improved devices in the before-mentioned areas.

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Forskningscenter Risoe
Frederiksborgvej 399
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