OCT Technology and Market

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OCT Technology and Market

Optical Coherence Tomography, or OCT, is a non-invasive imaging technique with broad uses in ophthalmology, cardiology, and gastroenterology. OCT instrumentation is divided into three categories- time-domain OCT (TDOCT), spectral-domain OCT (SDOCT), and swept-source OCT (SSOCT). Key performance metrics of OCT technology span across resolution, imaging depth, intrusiveness, acquisition time, and complexity. The use of incandescent sources to realize axial resolutions, polarization-sensitive imaging, as well as the use of OCT technology in additive manufacturing and 3D printing of medical devices are some of the recent developments in OCT.

Overview of OCT Technology

Properties of OCT Technology

Key Performance Metrics

1. Resolution and Imaging Depth

  • Compared to ultrasounds, x-rays, and MRI, OCT technology has limited imaging depths of between 2 and 10 millimeters, but OBEL asserts that it offers a greater resolution.
  • In ophthalmology, SSOCT is considered to aid further imaging into the anterior tissue of the eye, as well as deeper imaging into the ocular tissue of the eye.

2. Acquisition Time

  • OBEL further asserts that OCT's acquisition time, much like ultrasounds, is short enough to support imaging at video rates. This makes OCT technology more forbearing to subject motion, unlike computer tomography (CT) scans or MRI.

3. Intrusiveness

4. Complexities

Recent Development in OCT Technology

  • OBEL asserts that the use of incandescent sources will realize axial resolutions of 1 micrometer, an improvement from the 10 millimeters realized by the current semiconductor sources. This, OBEL posits, may be achieved through the use of "extremely broad" bandwidth in multiple forms of optic fiber.
  • OBEL also notes that the advantages of polarization-sensitive imaging are being realized as birefringence and dichroism are being explored as potential contrast mechanisms. OBEL defines birefringence and dichroism as factors of polarization based on phase velocity and amplitude respectively.
  • Axsun Technologies, a US-based photonics products manufacturer of medical devices, began to look into incorporating OCT technology in 3D printing and additive manufacturing in 2017, with Axsun reporting that it was a novel concept in the market. Research uncovered that the only other use of OCT technology in 3D printing was noted in 2019, as Inkbit, attempted to lend "eyes and ears" to 3D printing powered by artificial intelligence (AI) through the use of OCT scanners.

Research Strategy

To provide a high-level overview, performance metrics, uses and application, as well as recent developments in OCT technology, the research team began by looking through industry commentary by practitioners and dedicated websites. A majority of the findings were garnered from Optical+Biomedical Engineering Laboratory (OBEL) and Review Education Group's paper, as the research team deemed this relevant to the brief. Review Education Group's paper was the earliest dated in 2017, but it is noted on its web page that the information remains relevant to September 2020.
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