Spotlight on OCT

March 1, 2011
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a special issue of BioOptics World. In addition to the usual range of BioOptics World content (starting on p. 32), you will find here an "issue within the issue."

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a special issue of BioOptics World. In addition to the usual range of BioOptics World content (starting on p. 32), you will find here an "issue within the issue."

The issue within (look for pages tabbed in green) is focused on optical coherence tomography (OCT), a particularly dynamic area of bio-optics/photonics application that is only just beginning to realize its clinical promise. Inspired by the exciting technology and market developments for OCT in 2010 (including approval by the FDA for OCT-based systems in three markets new to the technology: cardiovascular, pulmonary, and skin imaging), we determined that the topic deserved some dedicated focus.

And so, here you will find a general news section highlighting important application, industry, and technology happenings; a product news section that covers a range of systems and components useful for OCT users; and a collection of in-depth features. The features provide both an overview of the market ("Funding for OCT: technologies, applications and businesses," p. 14, and "Technology, applications, and future directions: OCT in 2011 and beyond," p. 28) and an examination of some work at the forefront of technology development directions. These new directions in tech development promise to unlock the true potential of OCT. Here, you will see examples of how scientists are working to:

1. Allow simultaneous achievement of both depth of field and resolution—which today represent opposite ends on a range of choices that nobody really wants to have to make (see "Depth of field and resolution meet in new OCT approach," p. 19), and

2. Bring OCT image rendering and display up to speed with OCT image acquisition—which has reached new heights and promises more (see "Display: the next step in real-time OCT," p. 24).

The importance of these technology developments can be glimpsed in the announcement about NinePoint Medical (see "Millions raised to fund commercial OCT development," p. 8), a new startup with a vision for telepathology: the ability for remotely located pathologists to participate in decision making—and thus facilitate treatment—in real time. NinePoint, which appointed one of OCT's inventors (Eric Swanson) to its board of directors, plans first in gastrointestinal (GI) applications.

By the way, GI is an application that Greg Smolka sees in his crystal ball as next up for commercialization. Smolka is author of the Optical Coherence Tomography 2010: Technology, Applications, and Market research study, and his recent webcast, called "Optical coherence tomography: The state of the art," is available now on demand at

Enjoy this deep dive into OCT, as well as the other topics covered beginning on page 32.

About the Author

Barbara Gefvert | Editor-in-Chief, BioOptics World (2008-2020)

Barbara G. Gefvert has been a science and technology editor and writer since 1987, and served as editor in chief on multiple publications, including Sensors magazine for nearly a decade.

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