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MId- to NEaR infrared spectroscopy for improVed medical diAgnostics (MINERVA)
Date du début: 1 nov. 2012, Date de fin: 31 oct. 2016 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

In recent years it has become clear that mid-IR imaging spectroscopy has the potential to open a new chapter in bio-medical imaging and offers an effective tool for early cancer diagnosis and improved survival rates. Rather than a search for "cancer marker" absorption peaks, great progress has been made by analysing the entire bio-molecular mid-IR spectral signature using automated algorithms. However, the lack of suitable sources, detectors and components has restricted the technology to one of academic interest, based on weak thermal sources, low power lasers or synchrotron research tools.For the first time the photonic technology is in place to develop a new mid-IR technology platform on which entirely novel supercontinuum sources (c. 1000x brighter than thermal sources) covering the whole range from 1.5 to 12 µm may be built:-Low loss robust chalcogenide fibres for fibre lasers, supercontinuum generation and delivery -Fibre end caps, splicing and fusion technology for soft glass fibres -Crystal technology and novel designs for mid-IR AO modulators based on calomel -Flexible fast AO driver technology to enable high speed HSI acquisition -Low cost T2SL FPA detectors with performance matching state-of-the-art MSL devices -2.9 µm Er:ZBLAN and 4.5 µm Pr-doped chalcogenide fibre laser pumps -Robust designs for a range of mid-IR SCG sources: a) 1.5-4.5 µm from ZBLAN fibre b) 1.5-5.5 µm from InF3 fibre c) 3-9 µm from 2.9 µm pumped PCF chalcogenide fibre d) 4-12 µm from 4.5 µm pumped step-index chalcogenide fibre.Two specific high impact applications will be addressed: high volume pathology screening (i.e. automated microscope-based examination of samples) and in vivo, remote, real-time skin surface examination (i.e. non-invasive investigation of suspected skin cancer).This project will open the mid-IR to further exploitation, and the technology developed will be transferable to a huge range of applications both in bio-photonics and in wider industry.



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