Skin deeper: expanding the application of OCT beyond the eyes

Scientists have described a new method that increases the depth that optical coherence tomography can scan structures at

green and brown eye
Pixabay/Bruno Henrique

Scientists from Duke University in the US have highlighted that a new optical coherence tomography (OCT) technique could enable a range of new applications beyond the eye.

Describing their study in Biomedical Optical Express, authors highlighted that the new dual axis technique could open up additional functions for OCT, from spotting skin cancer to assessing burn damage and the healing progress, as well as guiding surgical procedures.

The technique involves tilting the light source and the detector at an angle.

Adam Wax, professor of biomedical engineering at Duke University, explained: "It's actually a fairly simple technique that sounds like something out of Ghostbusters – you get more power when you cross the beams.”

The method increases the imaging depth of OCT by close to 50%.

"Being able to use OCT even two or three millimeters into the skin is extremely useful because there are a lot of biological processes happening at that depth that can be indicative of diseases like skin cancer," Wax shared.