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Novel miniaturized endoscopic fiber-optic probes

Dr. Jiawen Li

Despite its popularity in imaging superficial tissues, such as the eye and skin, optical coherence tomography (OCT) suffers from a shallow penetration depth in tissue. Our work is focusing on addressing this limitation through the development of miniaturized fiber-optic probes that can be deployed deep inside human body, either via a catheter (endoscopically) or within a needle. I will describe two novel approaches that we have adopted. In the first project, we have developed a miniaturized endoscopic probe incorporating a 3D printed lens. The 3D printed lens is fabricated using direct laser writing, where a two-photon process is used to polymerise a photoresist, achieving micron-scale print resolution and sub-wavelength smoothness on the optical surface. We have combined the 3D printed lens with a 1mm diameter micromotor to fabricate a rapidly-rotating endoscopic probe, and integrated this with a VCSEL swept source light source to produce a long-range OCT scanning system for imaging of the airway lumen. In the second project, an all-fiber imaging probe was integrated with a flexible endoscopic needle (outer diameter 640μm) to enable optically-guided tissue aspiration through a bronchoscope. We show results on in situ images of a sheep airway, demonstrating the ability of the probe to distinguish between solid tissue, adipose and lung parenchyma.

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