Spectrally shaped supercontinuum sources for high-resolution Optical Coherence Tomography

Project overview

ShapeOCT will use Danish strongholds in supercontinuum (SC) light source and photonic crystal fiber (PCF) technology to develop a new generation of SC light sources with shaped noise and power spectra that are optimal for use in a new generation of ultra-high resolution Optical Coherence Tomography (UHROCT) systems. Noise reduction and spectral shaping of the SC will be done by intricate dispersion design and using normal dispersion femtosecond pumping, fiber tapering and concatenation. Three state-of-the-art spectral domain UHROCT systems will be developed that operate (I) at 1.3μm with a low-noise SC source using a silica PCF, (II) at 4μm with a low-noise SC source using a ZBLAN fiber, and lastly (III) at 7μm with a low-noise SC source using a chalcogenide fiber. The improved resolution of UHROCT system (I) will be evaluated against a commercial OCT system in skin cancer diagnostics. All UHROCT systems I-III are highly suited for non-destructive testing (NDT) and will be evaluated against each other and existing OCT systems for their increased resolution and penetration depth in testing of fiber-reinforced polymer (emerging construction material). For system (II) and (III) ShapeOCT will invest in state-of-the-art equipment for fiber drawing and glass manufacturing to establish a novel chalcogenide MIR fiber technology platform in Denmark and move the SC source into the 3-12μm molecular fingerprint region, as seen in figure 1, which is of fundamental importance for not just OCT, but also for ultra-fast spectroscopy tools for cancer detection, pollution, and food and soil quality monitoring. Nano-imprinting of the end-facet of chalcogenide fibers will be developed for improved power handling and low loss coupling (today 40% Fresnel loss is suffered), and ultra-broadband MIR detectors will be developed based on upconversion.


Figure 1: Supercontinuum generation by propagation of a femtosecond  optical pulse through a nonlinear optical fiber have the potential to cover all of the molecular fingerprinting region, as shown spectrally on the graph.  Also shown are the individual molecular bond fingerprint wavelengths.

Period: 1. May 2015 - 1. November 2019

Funding: DKK 25,700,000

Source: Innovationsfonden



Project members, external partners and board

The project is split into six Work Party (WP1 to WP6), who will each utilize their specialized knowledge to complete part of the project. These contributions can be seen in figure 2. The members of the six work party can be seen in the following list. The management group (WP7) consist of the first person from each of the six groups.

  1. DTU Photonics (Generation)
  2. DTU Nanotech
  3. NKT Photonics
    • Thomas Feuchter
    • Lasse Leick
    • Peter M. Moselund
    • Thomas T. Alkeskjold
    • Carsten L. Thomsen
  4. DTU Photonics (Detection)
  5. University of Kent
  6. Bispebjerg Hospital
    • Mette Mogensen
    • Merete Hædersdal



External partners will also participate and will, amongst other things, help train PhD and Post Docs. They are:

  • Heise Bettina, Head of Optical Coherence Tomography & Digital Imaging in RECENDT GmbH, Austria
  • Brett Bouma, Professor at Harvard Medical School, USA
  • John M. Dudley, Professor at FEMTO-ST and Head of Optoelectronics, Photonics and Optical telecommunications group Université de Franche-Comté
  • Angela B Seddon, Professor and Head of Mid-Infrared Glasses Group, GGIEMR, University of Nottingham, UK





Figure 2: Overall project structure showing the contributions from each work party.

The industrial and end-user board seen in figure 2 has the following members:

Michael Larsen (head)
Herlev/Glostrup Hospital

Gregers Hermann
Frederiksberg Hospital
Bladder Cancer

Mette Fog Pedersen
The Medical Centre
Ear/Nose/Throat Cancer

Derek Swan
Optos Plc, Scotland
OCT Company

Carsten L. Thomsen
NKT Photonics
OCT Company

Heise Bettina
RECENDT GmbH, Austria



2017 April 7
Meeting held at RECENDT
2016 March 11
Meeting held at DTU
2015 June 2
Kickoff at Bispebjerg Hospital
2015 May 26
Invited talk by Dr. Maria Maragkou, Associate Editor of Nature Materials, on the editorial process
2015 May 11
Bispebjerg Hospital buys VivoSight OCT system
2015 May 1
Project start!
2015 April
Bispebjerg Hospital secures PhD student from early 2016.
2015 April
Christos Markos (4.5yr from 1st of May), Deepak Jain (2yr from 15th of June) and Niels Israelsen (4yr from 1st of Juli) hired as Post Docs at DTU Fotonik.
2015 April
Rasmus Dybbro Engelsholm (3yr from 1st of May) hired as PhD student at DTU Fotonik.