IOP Project

Going beyond the surface with Optical Coherence Tomography

Projectnumber: IPD067774
Contact: Dr. E.A.J.M. Bente
Phone: +31 (0)40 247 51 06

At present Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is mainly used in ophthalmology. This technology enables cross-sectional imaging of tissue at a resolution of microns. However, the current techniques are time consuming as the patient has to lie still for protracted periods and the specialist has to wait for a long time for the image to build up. A consortium, of which Eindhoven University of Technology is a part, is working on a solution for these problems.


In OCT a light source is linked to a beam splitter which splits the light bundle into two bundles. One bundle beams to one point in the area to be examined, while the other bundle is diverted in another direction. The image is created by reflection of the emitted light. In order to create an internal image, the path length of the diverted light is varied point by point. This still takes place mechanically at the moment, with mirrors that are moved point by point. According to Erwin Bente PhD, a member of the Department of Opto Electronic Devices/Electrical Engineering of Eindhoven University of Technology, there are starting points for improving the technology. “The current technology consists of mechanical components, which we could replace with laser technology. This will speed up the imaging process. To achieve this, we will have to use new semiconductor materials, making it possible to integrate both the laser and the required integrated circuits (ICs) onto a single chip.” This would be beneficial for the medical technological applications. In ophthalmology, the possibility of being able to penetrate deeper into the tissue without having to resort to ultrasonic examination, would be a very real advantage. Furthermore, the new technology would expand OCT’s field of application. “The other research partners are also very interested in the potential for examination of the skin and veins. The behaviour of these blood-vessels yields a great deal of information on a patient’s physiological condition. A breakthrough that would enable a new application of this kind is, of course, highly desirable.”

The description of this project is available as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file:

Adobe Acrobat PDF file  SN PD 1 (79 KB)


TOPCON Europe Medical BV
AMC Laser centre
Eindhoven University of Technology
MicroVision Medical Holding BV