To unlock the massive economic and clinical potential of the biophotonics research field several barriers to market must be overcome. The National Centre for Healthcare Photonics, set up in 2018 at NETPark, UK, is an £18 million centre dedicated to supporting companies of all sizes in translating research into commercial products. This presentation will detail case studies demonstrating effective partnerships between local companies, non-governmental organisations and universities to bring healthcare products utilising photonics to market more effectively.
A dedicated project, Spotlight, funded by the ERDF, provides healthcare photonics SMEs and start-ups with funded support including staff time from Durham University and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), an organisation specialising in supporting the development of next-generation manufacturing organisations. Examples of support that Spotlight offers include:
- access to lab space and state-of-the-art research facilities;
- proof-of-concept research;
- system design, prototyping and validation activity;
- manufacture of equipment for clinical investigation;
- regulatory compliance support;
- health economics modelling
- commercialisation support;
- pathways to generating clinical evidence.
Typically, the SMEs that partner with Spotlight have expertise in several areas and research fields but lack either photonics expertise or access to photonics equipment and do not have the scale or resources to obtain these feasibly. We will present examples of SMEs that have received assistance from Spotlight to enable commercial translation of research. Examples are taken at different stages of product development and different biophotonics technologies and demonstrate the success of interdisciplinary academic-industry partnerships in translating research to market.
Recent developments in the short distance communication have made polymer optical fibers (POF) an attractive product
in the high speed data communication market. The requirement of a large bandwidth, low cost, light weight and
flexibility in installation have placed them over the copper cables especially in applications like home networking and
automotives. Since POFs are large core multimoded fibers, their band width is limited by intermodal dispersion. This
confines POFs application to low data rate short distance communications. Restrictive mode launchers (RML) and
higher order mode strippers placed in the data link helps to reduce the intermodal dispersion. The techniques used to
implement these signal conditioners should be simple and cost effective to keep POFs attractive in the short distance
communication. In this paper we explore the possibility of integrating the RML and mode stripping elements in the
transmitter and receiver package itself. The pre-designed optical signal conditioning elements are projected to get
molded in the plastic packages and are fiber plug in modules. This connector less package design, universal to any light
source proposes to enhance the data rate and is widely manufacturable at an ease of installation and low cost.
Polymer Optical Fiber (POF) optical modules are gaining momentum due to their applications in short distance
communications. POFs offer more flexibility for plug and play applications and provide cost advantages. They also offer
significant weight advantage in automotive and avionic networks. One of the most interesting field of application is
home networking. Low cost optical components are required, since cost is a major concern in local and home networks.
In this publication, a fast and easy to install, low cost solution for efficient light coupling in and out of Step Index- POF
is explored. The efficient coupling of light from a large core POF to a small area detector is the major challenge faced.
We simulated direct coupling, lens coupling and bend losses for step index POF using ZEMAXR optical simulation
software. Simulations show that a lensed fiber tip particularly at the receiver side improves the coupling efficiency. The
design is optimized for 85% coupling efficiency and explored the low cost fabrication method to implement it in the
system level. The two methods followed for lens fabrication is described here in detail. The fabricated fiber lenses are
characterized using a beam analyzer. The fabrication process was reiterated to optimize the lens performance. It is
observed that, the fabricated lenses converge the POF output spot size by one fourth, there by enabling a higher coupling
efficiency. This low cost method proves to be highly efficient and effective optical coupling scheme in POF
A taper coupler with multimode input and single mode output is presented for coupling between edge emitting laser
diode and silicon waveguide. The tapered coupler structure is optimized and tolerance for laser diode placement is
studied. A typical coupling efficiency of -2dB is achieved from laser diode to silicon waveguide. With tolerance of +/-
4μm laterally or vertically, the variation of the coupling efficiency is about 3dB. The tolerance is large compared with
other methods. Tilting angle at laser diode and the small gap between tapered coupler and silicon waveguide also affect
the overall coupling. From our studies, horizontal and vertical offsets are more critical for laser diode placement in order
to have a good coupling. The new design can be applied to photonics packaging because it will make passive assembly
easier by having larger tolerance for packaging compared with the conventional method with lens.
In this study, a low-cost (with bare chips) and high (optical, electrical, and thermal) performance optoelectronic system with
a data rate of 10Gbps is designed and analyzed. This system consists of a rigid printed circuit board (PCB) made of FR4
material with an optical polymer waveguide, a vertical cavity surface emitted laser (VCSEL), a driver chip, a 16:1 serializer,
a photo-diode detector, a Trans-Impedance Amplifier (TIA), a 1:16 deserializer, and heat spreaders. The bare VCSEL, driver
chip, and serializer chip are stacked with wire bonds and then solder jointed on one end of the optical polymer waveguide on
the PCB via Cu posts. Similarly, the bare photo-diode detector, TIA chip, and deserializer chip are stacked with wire bonds
and then solder jointed on the other end of the waveguide on the PCB via Cu posts. Because the devices in the 3D stacking
system are made with different materials, the stresses due to the thermal expansion mismatch among various parts of the
system are determined.
There is an increasing demand for tunable lasers in telecommunications networks for test equipment, optical components
and other applications. In DWDM systems, multiple data streams propagate concurrently on a single mode fiber.
DWDM networks are based on a DFB lasers operating at a wavelength defined by ITU wavelength grid. Statistical
variations associated with the manufacture of DFB laser results in yield losses. Continuously tunable external lasers are
developed to overcome the limitations of DFB lasers. Various laser tuning mechanisms are being explored to provide
external cavity tunable lasers to provide a stable single mode output.
The packaged tunable laser source (TLS) for DWDM network also need to include several optical elements for isolation
and data modulation like collimator, focusing lens, fiber pigtail, a modulator and output fiber segment. In this
publication, we propose a novel semi integrated miniature high frequency tunable laser design based on Silicon Optical
Bench (SiOB) concept. One of the mirrors is a movable MEMS structure changing the optical path length. We propose
micro optical design between laser diode and the MEMS mirror for efficient optical coupling and side mode suppression.
We also present the compatibility between the optical coupling and MEMS actuation range. We present the coupling
efficiency results over the tuning range. We also propose a method of monitoring the output power of the tunable laser
using waveguide coupler structures which are integrated in the silicon wafer and method of packaging in a miniature
package compatible to the industry standard form factor.