SANTA BARBARA, CA, United States
SANTA BARBARA, CA, United States

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Patent
Thorlabs Inc. and Praevium Research, Inc. | Date: 2016-09-14

An optical instrument including at least a first and second wavelength swept vertical cavity laser (VCL) sources. The wavelength sweeping ranges spanned by the first and second VCL sources may differ with a region of spectral overlap. The first and second VCL sources may be operable under different modes of operation, wherein the modes of operation differ in at least one of: sweep repetition rate, sweep wavelength range, sweep center wavelength, and sweep trajectory. A VCL source may also exhibit sweep-to-sweep variation. Apparatus and methods are described for aligning sample signal data from the first VCL and sample signal data from the second VCL to generate output digital data. The output digital data is aligned with respect to at least one of: wavelength, wavenumber, and interferometric phase. The apparatus and methods can also be used to phase stabilize successive sweeps from the same VCL source or wavelength swept source.


Patent
Praevium Research, Inc. and Thorlabs Inc. | Date: 2013-07-26

A tunable source includes a short-cavity laser optimized for performance and reliability in SSOCT imaging systems, spectroscopic detection systems, and other types of detection and sensing systems. The short cavity laser has a large free spectral range cavity, fast tuning response and single transverse, longitudinal and polarization mode operation, and includes embodiments for fast and wide tuning, and optimized spectral shaping. Disclosed are both electrical and optical pumping in a MEMS-VCSEL geometry with mirror and gain regions optimized for wide tuning, high output power, and a variety of preferred wavelength ranges; and a semiconductor optical amplifier, combined with the short-cavity laser to produce high-power, spectrally shaped operation. Several preferred imaging and detection systems make use of this tunable source for optimized operation are also disclosed.


Patent
Thorlabs Inc. and Praevium Research, Inc. | Date: 2015-10-08

An amplified tunable source includes a short-cavity laser coupled to an optical amplifier for high power, spectrally shaped operation. The short-cavity laser is coupled to a quantum well semiconductor optical amplifier with two quantum states for broadened gain. Two preferred wavelength ranges of the amplified tunable source include 1200-1400 nm and 800-1100 nm. Also disclosed is the short cavity tunable laser coupled to a fiber amplifier. Various combinations of tunable optical filters with the amplified tunable source to reduce noise or improve spectral purity are presented.


Patent
Thorlabs Inc. and Praevium Research, Inc. | Date: 2015-10-08

A tunable source includes a short-cavity laser optimized for performance and reliability in SSOCT imaging systems, spectroscopic detection systems, and other types of detection and sensing systems. A short cavity laser with a large free spectral range cavity, fast tuning response and single transverse, longitudinal and polarization mode operation is disclosed. Methods for obtaining polarization stable operation of the tunable source are presented.


Patent
Thorlabs Inc. and Praevium Research, Inc. | Date: 2015-10-08

Optical systems employ a tunable source which includes a short cavity laser with a large free spectral range cavity, fast tuning response, and single transverse and longitudinal mode operation. Systems for optical spectroscopy with optimized scanning, a system for optical beam steering and a system for a tunable local oscillator are disclosed.


Patent
Thorlabs Inc. and Praevium Research, Inc. | Date: 2014-03-14

A system for swept source optical coherence tomography, the system including a light source emitting multiplexed wavelength-swept radiation over a total wavelength range, the light source including N wavelength-swept vertical cavity lasers (VCL) emitting N tunable VCL outputs having N wavelength trajectories, a combiner for combining the N tunable VCL optical outputs into a common optical path to create the multiplexed wavelength-swept radiation, a splitter for splitting the multiplexed wavelength-swept radiation to a sample and a reference path, an optical detector for detecting an interference signal created by an optical interference between a reflection from the sample and light traversing the reference path, and a signal processing system which uses the interference signal to construct an image of the sample, wherein at least one of the N wavelength trajectories differs from another of the N wavelength trajectories with respect to at least one parameter.


Patent
Thorlabs Inc. and Praevium Research, Inc. | Date: 2014-03-14

A high-speed, single-mode, high power, reliable and manufacturable wavelength-tunable light source operative to emit wavelength tunable radiation over a wavelength range contained in a wavelength span between about 950 nm and about 1150 nm, including a vertical cavity laser (VCL), the VCL having a gain region with at least one compressively strained quantum well containing Indium, Gallium, and Arsenic.


Patent
Praevium Research, Inc. and Thorlabs Inc. | Date: 2013-07-26

An agile optical imaging system for optical coherence tomography imaging using a tunable source comprising a wavelength tunable VCL laser is disclosed. The tunable source has long coherence length and is capable of high sweep repetition rate, as well as changing the sweep trajectory, sweep speed, sweep repetition rate, sweep linearity, and emission wavelength range on the fly to support multiple modes of OCT imaging. The imaging system also offers new enhanced dynamic range imaging capability for accommodating bright reflections. Multiscale imaging capability allows measurement over orders of magnitude dimensional scales. The imaging system and methods for generating the waveforms to drive the tunable laser in flexible and agile modes of operation are also described.


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 999.93K | Year: 2012

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The ultimate goal of this program is to enable a new generation of high performance, low cost ophthalmic Optical Coherence Tomography OCT technology based on new MEMS-tunable vertical cavity surface-emitting laser (MEMS-VCSEL) swept light sources. This will be accomplished by developing, validating, and commercializing VCSEL technology for swept source OCT (SS-OCT) at 850nm and 1050nm wavelengths used for ophthalmic imaging. This work builds upon strong preliminary datausing optically pumped VCSELs for OCT at both 1310nm and 1050nm obtained by Praevium Research and collaborators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This prior work has demonstrated numerous performance advantages of VCSELs for SS-OCT imaging. The unique features of VCSELs enable fundamental axial scan rates up to 1MHz, 20-40x faster than current commercial spectral domain OCT (SD-OCT) ophthalmic systems, adjustable sweep rates enabling high speed and long imaging range operating regimes, with imaging ranges gt10x more than commercial SD-OCT ophthalmic systems. These advantages promise to enable a cost-effective, multi-modal OCT instrument capable of retinal, anterior eye and axial eye length imaging. This new generation of ophthalmic technology will enable wide field 3D-OCT retinal imaging for assessing retinal pathology, imaging the anterior eye for improved refractive power measurement, and axial eye length imaging for improved intraocular lens (IOL) implant assessment. The unique performance features of VCSELs will also facilitate functional imaging such as Doppler and polarization-sensitive OCT (PS-OCT). The proposed program will build upon results from optically pumped, amplified 1310nm VCSELs from Praevium Research under a previous NIH-funded effort on VCSELs for OCT cancer imaging, to develop new electrically pumped, high power VCSELs at 850nm and 1050nm for ophthalmic imaging. These advances are made feasible by lower power requirements for ophthalmic OCT and mature Gallium Arsenide materials. A pure electrically pumped VCSEL technology would represent the first monolithic wafer-scale laser source for SS-OCT, significantly reducing the cost of laser sources and OCT systems. This would in turn enable penetration of ophthalmic OCT into newmarkets and clinical settings. These broad goals will be realized by addressing laser development, OCT system development, and clinical system validation. VCSEL performance will be increased by incorporating advanced designs and processing methods, with each generation of VCSELs integrated into ongoing clinical studies with collaborators in retinal, whole eye, and anterior eye imaging. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: This effort is expected to impact public health by creating a new high performance, low-cost generation of ophthalmic technology based on Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) using new tunable vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs). This new technology will enable wide field 3-dimensional retinal imaging for assessing retinal pathology, imaging the anterior eye for improved refractive power measurement, axial eye length imaging for improved intraocular lens (IOL) implant assessment, and new modes of functional eye imaging. Reduced system cost will promote expansion of these capabilities into a broader range of clinical settings.


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.18M | Year: 2010

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The ultimate goal of this effort is to develop, validate, and commercialize an ultra-broad tuning range, ultrahigh scan rate, swept laser source imaging engine that will enable the next generation of Optical Coherence Tomography / Optical Coherence Microscopy (OCT/OCM) systems. OCT and OCM enable 3D in vivo volumetric imaging of tissue pathology by detecting the echo time delay of back-reflected and backscattered light. OCT and OCM have powerful advantages as a cancer imaging modality because they provide information on tissue pathology in real time, without the need to excise and process specimens as in conventional excisional biopsy and histopathology. OCT has an axial image resolution of ~5-10 um and can image tissue over a much wider area than possible using conventional pinch biopsy. In endoscopic OCT, imaging can be performed over several square centimeters of the lumen. OCM has transverse resolutions of 1-2 um and can provide 3D image information at the cellular level. Swept source / Fourier domain OCT/OCM using compact VCSEL (vertical cavity surface emitting lasers) promises to enable imaging with significantly higher imaging speeds than existing commercial OCT technology. We propose to develop a swept source imaging engine which achieves an axial scan rate of 1 MHz, ~40x faster than commercial ophthalmic OCT instruments (25 kHz axial scan rate). Furthermore, swept source OCT/OCM using VCSEL technologies can be engineered into a compact imaging engine which is smaller than a laptop computer. The development of a high performance OCT/OCM imaging engine for the OEM market will enable access to the technology by a wide range of both established and start-up medical companies. This development strategy, which contrasts with focusing on commercialization for a single clinical application, reduces risks and will accelerate the development and impact of the technology across a broad range of clinical applications for cancer imaging. This proposed effort builds upon advances in semiconductor materials technology and tunable lasers developed by Praevium Research, Inc. in NCI grant 4R44CA101067 and follow-on commercial investment by commercial partner, Thorlabs, Inc., the world's largest manufacturer of research OCT technology. This work involves a collaboration between the primary organization Praevium Reseach, Inc. commercial partner Thorlabs, and the OCT group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was responsible for the invention and development of OCT. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: This effort is expected impact public health by advancing a new clinical tool capable of three dimensional in-vivo volumetric imaging of tissue pathology without the need for tissue excision and processing as in conventional excisional biopsy and histopathology. This tool employs advanced high resolution, high data rate optical coherence tomography (OCT), which measures backscattered echoes of reflected light, in the same way that ultrasound imaging measures sound echoes, but with an imaging resolution 10-100 higher than ultrasound. The proposed instrument operates at 40X the imaging speed of existing commercial OCT instruments, and is enabled by a new compact rapidly swept laser source.

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