BIOMEDICAL OPTICS/EMERGING BIOPHOTONICS: BiOS 2014: Spectral imaging, ultrafast lasers, and more

The Biomedical Optics Symposium (BiOS) and BiOS Expo, the world's largest annual biomedical optics and biophotonics symposium and exhibition, kicked off SPIE’s Photonics West 2014 on February 1 in San Francisco, CA.

Last year, in our reports on SPIE’s 2013 BiOS, we commented on the prevalence of biomedical applications throughout Photonics West—and again this year, the symposium comprised about 45% of papers presented. Also this year, each of the three winners in the Startup Challenge competition took honors for bio-focused innovations: Robert McLaughlin of the University of Western Australia received the top prize ($10,000, plus $5,000 in products from Edmund Optics) for a “microscope-in-a-needle”—a miniaturized optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging probe that aims to reduce repeat surgeries for breast cancer. Second place ($5,000)—and the event’s People’s Choice Award—went to Nicholas Durr of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), whose product, called PlenOptika’s QuickSee, is low-cost handheld device able to provides eyeglass prescriptions at the push of a button. The third-place winner was Amos Danielli of MagBiosense, who presented a real-time, easy-to-use point-of-care system able to diagnose a heart attack with laboratory-quality sensitivity.

AccuVein’s AV400 Vein Viewing System won the 2014 Prism Award in the Life Science and Biophotonics category
AccuVein’s AV400 Vein Viewing System won the 2014 Prism Award in the Life Science and Biophotonics category.

Winners of other related awards at the event were AccuVein Inc. (Huntington, NY): Its AV400 Vein Viewing System won the 2014 Prism Award in the Life Science and Biophotonics category. The handheld system detects vasculature beneath a person’s skin and projects a vein map onto the skin’s surface to enable greater precision for needle sticks. In the Scientific Lasers category, Hübner GmbH & Co. KG (Ehrenkirchen, Germany) won for its C-WAVE coherent continuous-wave source able to be tuned across the visible range without change of materials.

More awards and Hot Topics
Awards were the initial focus of the major BiOS plenary, Hot Topics, too: The evening began with SPIE president H. Philip Stahl honoring two contributors to the field. He presented Naomi Halas of Rice University (Houston, TX) with the 2014 Biophotonics Technology Innovator Award to recognize her invention of biocompatible nanoparticles and applications in imaging, diagnostics, and photothermal cancer therapy. Brian C. Wilson with the Ontario Cancer Institute (Toronto, ON, Canada) won the 2014 Britton Chance Biomedical Award in recognition of sustained, high-quality contributions to basic research, technology development, clinical translation, commercialization, and training and education in light dosimetry, photodynamic therapy (PDT), fluorescence and Raman diagnosis, endoscopy, microscopy, and nanophotonics.

Then, Hot Topics attendees were treated to glimpses of the future through eight presentations. The first was Bruce Tromberg of the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic, University of California, Irvine, who discussed diffuse optical methods for assessing breast cancer chemotherapy. Then, Eric Seibel of the University of Washington explained scanning fiber endoscopy; David Boas of Massachusetts General Hospital described optical spectroscopy and tomography of oxygen delivery; Lihong Wang of Washington University in St. Louis demonstrated the advantages of photoacoustic tomography; and Stanford University’s Jelena Vuckovic introduced the audience to single-cell photonic nanocavity probes. Two speakers addressed neuroscience: Paul Selvin of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reported on quantum dots for this application, while Rafael Yuste of Columbia University, a pioneer behind the U.S.’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, explained why optical imaging is key for neuroscience. OCT pioneer Eric Swanson of OCT News reported on research, funding, and entrepreneurism in clinical translation of OCT.

Translation was actually a theme at BiOS: The first-ever BiOS Translational Research virtual symposium, chaired by Tromberg, highlighted selections from BiOS conferences with a focus on “new photonics tools, techniques, and technologies to meet challenges in global healthcare.” Presentations included “Tethered capsule OCT endomicroscopy” and “Device for 3 dimensional, real time and intraoperative evaluation of surgical margin status.”

Product intros and themes
In the exhibit hall, multispectral imaging was a theme, as evidenced by PIXELTEQ’s (Largo, FL) debut of PixelSensor multispectral sensors, which use on-chip filtering to integrate eight wavelength-selective photodiodes into a <1 cm package for portable fluorescence detection. Ultrafast lasers, too, proliferated in the exhibits; several were newly introduced for clinical, research, and manufacturing applications. AdValue Photonics (Tucson, AZ) showed a new 2 μm pulsed fiber laser that delivers peak power up to 10 kW and average power up to 10 W for use in laser surgery, while KMLabs (Boulder, CO) introduced its Y-Fi ultrafast fiber laser that delivers sub-200-fs pulse widths for ultrafast microscopy, laser surgery, and ophthalmology applications. Amplitude Systemes (Pessac, France) debuted its Tangor solid-state ultrafast amplifier, with a chirped-pulse amplification (CPA)-free design to enable pulse delivery up to 300 μJ in medical device manufacturing.

PIXELTEQ’s PixelSensor multispectral sensors use on-chip filtering to integrate eight wavelength-selective photodiodes into a <1 cm package
PIXELTEQ’s PixelSensor multispectral sensors use on-chip filtering to integrate eight wavelength-selective photodiodes into a <1 cm package.

Among other new products, Navitar (Rochester, NY) introduced its MagniStar high-resolution bi-telecentric lenses for imaging and measurement applications that require a greater depth of field, including 3D microscopy, thanks to an adjustable built-in iris and <0.1% image distortion. Nanotronics Imaging (Cuyahoga Falls, OH), which recently closed on $7 million in funding, unveiled “hands-free microscopy” using gesture control for user interface control. And Element Six (Ascot, England), maker of synthetic diamonds, discussed the utility of diamond to facilitate biomedical applications, with its ability to help overcome thermal challenges.

Bio at the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar
Dennis Matthews, director of the National Science Foundation’s Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology (University of California at Davis), provided a market overview at the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar, saying the biophotonics business is $50 billion worldwide (including $37 billion for diagnostics and $6.2 billion for therapeutics) and is predicted to reach $190 billion by 2018. He explained the application of such biophotonics tools as lasers for surgery, photodynamic therapy to kill cancer cells, and hyperspectral imaging to recognize unhealthy tissue in normal tissue. And he reminded the audience that even a cell phone can be a powerful biophotonic device: a $2 lens can turn a smartphone into a 200X transmission, polarization, or fluorescence microscope.

Matthews emphasized the importance of point-of-care applications able to provide diagnoses—and even treatment—wherever needed. He also noted that because the U.S. Affordable Care Act imposes penalties for patient hospital return, it provides an opportunity for the biophotonics industry due to the resulting increased need for in-home monitoring and telemedicine.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks and months as we continue to report on news from SPIE Photonics West, as there’s no way we can cover all of our findings in one report!—BioOptics World staff

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