LONDON, ENGLAND -- The UK's OMICRON project, which is working to develop an optical coherence tomography (OCT) based in-vivo imaging probe operating at the new, untried wavelength of 1 micron, has produced its first super high resolution sub-surface tissue images—of skin on the knuckle of a human finger. To date, most imaging of skin tissue has been done at the longer wavelength of 1.3 μm.
Leading OCT researcher Professor Wolfgang Drexler, Director of Research at the University of Cardiff School of Optometry and Vision Science, said, "We believe that images acquired at 1μm wavelength will offer improved contrast and resolution that will help clinicians to distinguish between healthy and cancerous tissue."
The initial images of healthy skin tissue, obtained with a Michelson Diagnostics (MDL) OCT Microscope converted to 1 μm, appear to support this concept: Features such as capillaries and the boundaries between tissue layers are more clearly defined.
The shorter wavelength of 1 μm requires development of new laser and optical technology. Further work in 2009 will concentrate on increasing the laser power, for more depth penetration, and on evaluating and analyzing images of cancerous tissue taken with the new probe.
Dr Nick Stone, Head of Biophotonics at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added "OCT scanning has the exciting potential of both guiding and reducing the dependence on biopsies, which could speed up cancer diagnosis and treatment, reducing the pressure on overloaded pathology departments, and improve outcomes from cancer surgery."
The OMICRON project, funded in 2007 by the UK's Technology Strategy Board, is a collaboration among Michelson Diagnostics (MDL), which leads the work, and the University of Cardiff, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, National Physical Laboratory, semiconductor specialist Kamelian, and medical imaging systems specialist Tactiq.
Michelson Diagnostics Ltd