We present a multifunctional endoscope capable of imaging, fluid delivery and fluid sampling in the alveolar space. The endoscope consists of an imaging fibre bundle fabricated from cost effective OM1 PCVD graded index preforms made for the telecommunications market. These low-cost fibres could potentially make our endoscope disposable after a single use. The performance of our low-cost imaging fibre bundle is shown to be comparable to the current commercial state-of-the-art. The imaging fibre bundle is packaged alongside two channels for the delivery and extraction of fluids. The fluid delivery channels can be used to deliver fluorescent smart probes for the detection of pathogens and to perform a targeted alveolar lavage without the removal of the imaging fibre as is currently standard procedure. Our endoscope is fully biocompatible and with an overall outer diameter of 1.4 mm allowing it to fit into the standard working channel of a bronchoscope. We demonstrate the use of our endoscope in ex-vivo human lungs. We show alveolar tissue and bacterial imaging over two wavelength bands 520 nm – 600 nm and 650 nm – 750 nm both commonly used for bacterial smart probe detection.
The mid-infrared (mid-IR) is a spectral region (≈2 to 20 μm) that is of key importance in astronomy for applications such as exoplanet imaging and spectroscopic analysis. Long baseline stellar interferometry is the only imaging technique that offers the possibility to achieve milli-arcsecond angular resolution in the mid-IR. At the heart of such an interferometer is the beam combining instrument, which enables coherent beam combination of the signals from each baseline. In comparison to bulk-optic beam combiners, beam combiners that utilize photonic planar light wave circuits for interferometry provide a more scalable and stable platform. The current generation of beam combination circuits are fabricated using conventional fabrication technologies, using silica-based materials, and are thus not suitable for operation in the mid-IR. There is, therefore, a need to explore more unconventional waveguide fabrication technologies, capable of enabling the fabrication of low-loss mid-IR waveguides and photonic beam combining circuits. We report on the development of low-loss single-mode waveguides in a gallium lanthanum sulfide glass using ultrafast laser inscription. The optimum waveguides are found to exhibit a propagation loss of 0.25±0.05 dB cm−1.
We present a toolkit for a multiplexed pH and oxygen sensing probe in the distal lung using multicore fibres. Measuring physiological relevant parameters like pH and oxygen is of significant importance in understanding changes associated with disease pathology. We present here, a single multicore fibre based pH and oxygen sensing probe which can be used with a standard bronchoscope to perform in vivo measurements in the distal lung.
The multiplexed probe consists of fluorescent pH sensors (fluorescein based) and oxygen sensors (Palladium porphyrin complex based) covalently bonded to silica microspheres (10 µm) loaded on the distal facet of a 19 core (10 µm core diameter) multicore fibre (total diameter of ~150 µm excluding coating). Pits are formed by selectively etching the cores using hydrofluoric acid, multiplexing is achieved through the self-location of individual probes on differing cores. This architecture can be expanded to include probes for further parameters. Robust measurements are demonstrated of self-referencing fluorophores, not limited by photobleaching, with short (100ms) measurement times at low (~10µW) illumination powers.
We have performed on bench calibration and tests of in vitro tissue models and in an ovine whole lung model to validate our sensors. The pH sensor is demonstrated in the physiologically relevant range of pH 5 to pH 8.5 and with an accuracy of ± 0.05 pH units. The oxygen sensor is demonstrated in gas mixtures downwards from 20% oxygen and in liquid saturated with 20% oxygen mixtures (~8mg/L) down to full depletion (0mg/L) with ~0.5mg/L accuracy.
In healthy humans, the physiological state in the distal lung alveolar acinar units is tightly regulated by normal homeostatic mechanisms. Pulmonary abnormalities such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, that are characterized by recurrent cycles of inflammation and infection involving dense infiltration by myeloid derived peripheral blood cells, may result in significant perturbation of the homeostatic baselines of physiology in addition to host tissue damage. Therefore, the ability to quantify and monitor physiology (e.g. pH, glucose level, oxygen tension) within the alveolar acinar units would provide a key biomarker of distal lung innate defence. Although in vitro modeling of fundamental biological processes show remarkable sensitivity to physiological aberrations, little is known about the physiological state of the distal lung due to the inability to concurrently access the alveolar sacs and perform real-time sensing. Here we report on previously unobtainable measurements of alveolar pH using a fiber-optic optrode and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) and show that alveolar pH changes in response to ventilation. The endoscope-deployable optrode consisted of para-mercaptobenzoic acid functionalized 150 nm gold nanoshells located at the distal end, and an asymmetric dual-core optical fiber designed for spatially separated optical pump delivery and SERS signal collection in order to circumvent the unwanted Raman signal originating from the fiber itself. We demonstrate a ~ 100-fold increase in SERS signal-to-fiber background ratio and pH sensing at multiple sites in the respiratory acinar units of a whole ex vivo ovine lung model with a measurement accuracy of ± 0.07 pH units.
Here we demonstrate the use of an advanced microfabrication technique, known as ultrafast laser inscription (ULI) with chemical etching, optimised for the fabrication of micro-optic systems in fused silica. ULI is a precision laser micromachining tool which relies on the high peak intensities associated with focused femtosecond pulses of light to locally modify the structure of a dielectric material. One manifestation of this modification is that the etch-rate of the modified regions can be increased by up to two orders of magnitude compared to that of pristine material, depending on the specific ULI parameters and the chemical etchant used. This capability means that ULI facilitates the repeatable fabrication of three-dimensional freeform structures in glass with micrometre resolution. Firstly, we present the results of investigations aimed at optimising the fabrication process and show that by controlling the laser polarisation during inscription, an etch-rate selectivity of 100 and a fivefold decrease in surface roughness can be achieved. We then demonstrate the characterisation of a microlens fabricated with optimum inscription parameters, including measurements of the lens surface profile, surface roughness and throughput, before demonstrating that the local surface roughness can be further decreased to below 5 nanometres by post-manufacture flame polishing.
Integrated optics (IO) has proven to be a competitive solution for beam combination in the context of astronomical interferometry (e.g. GRAVITY at the VLTI). However, conventional silica-based lithographic IO is limited to wavelengths shorter than 2.2μm. We report in this paper the progress on our attempt to extend the operation of IO to longer wavelengths. Previous work has demonstrated the suitability of chalcogenide devices in the MID-IR in the N band and monochromatically at 3.39 μm. Here, we continue this effort with the manufacturing of new laser written GLS IO as beam combiners designed for the astronomical L band and characterized interferometrically at 3.39 μm. In the era of multi-telescope interferometers, we present a promising solution to strengthen the potential of IO for new wavelength ranges.
The advent of 30 m class Extremely Large Telescopes will require spectrographs of unprecedented spectral resolution in order to meet ambitious science goals, such as detecting Earth-like exoplanets via the radial velocity technique. The consequent increase in the size of the spectrograph makes it challenging to ensure their optimal environmental stabilization and precise spectral calibration. The multimode optical fibers used to transport light from the telescope focal plane to the separately housed environmentally stabilized spectrograph introduces modal noise. This phenomena manifests as variations in the light pattern at the output of the fiber as the input coupling and/or fiber position changes which degrades the spectrograph line profile, reducing the instrument precision. The photonic lantern is a guided wave transition that efficiently couples a multimode point spread function into an array of single modes. If arranged in a linear array at the input of the spectrograph these single modes can in principle provide a diffraction-limited mode noise free spectra in the dispersion axis. In this paper we describe the fabrication and throughput performance of the hybrid reformatter. This device combines the proven low-loss performance of a multicore fiber-based photonic lantern with an ultrafast laser inscribed three-dimensional waveguide interconnect that performs the reformatting function to a diffraction-limited pseudo-slit. The device provided an in laboratory throughput of 65 ± 2% at 1550 ± 20 nm and an on-sky throughput of 53 ± 4% at 1530 ± 80 nm using the CANARY adaptive optics system at the William Herschel Telescope.
This paper reports on the modal noise characterisation of a hybrid reformatter. The device consists of a multicore-fibre photonic lantern and an ultrafast laser-inscribed slit reformatter. It operates around 1550 nm and supports 92 modes. Photonic lanterns transform a multimode signal into an array of single-mode signals, and thus combine the high coupling efficiency of multimode fibres with the diffraction-limited performance of single-mode fibres. This paper presents experimental measurements of the device point spread function properties under different coupling conditions, and its throughput behaviour at high spectral resolution. The device demonstrates excellent scrambling but its point spread function is not completely stable. Mode field diameter and mode bary-centre position at the device output vary as the multicore fibre is agitated due to the fabrication imperfections.
One of the main challenges for fibre optic based sensing is robust operation in the mid-infrared (mid-IR) region. This is of major interest because this wavelength region is where the characteristic absorption spectra for a wide range of molecules lie. However, due to the high absorption of silica (above 2 μm), mid-IR sensors based on solid core silica fibres are not practical. Of the many alternatives to solid silica fibres, hollow core microstrutured optical fibres are being explored and show great promise. One relatively new fibre, the hollow core negative curvature fibre (NCF) is promising for novel optical devices due to the simple structure (in comparison to other microstructured fibres) in combination with a hollow core which enables low loss mid-IR infrared guidance in a silica based fibre. In this paper, an all silica NCF that is post-processed with a fs laser, in order to increase access to the hollow core, is presented with acceptable loss and significant potential for mid-IR gas sensing.
Due to their high efficiency and broad operational bandwidths, volume phase holographic gratings (VPHGs) are often
the grating technology of choice for astronomical instruments, but current VPHGs exhibit a number of drawbacks
including limits on their size, function and durability due to the manufacturing process. VPHGs are also generally made
using a dichromated gelatine substrate, which exhibits reduced transmission at wavelengths longer than ~2.2 μm,
limiting their ability to operate further into the mid-infrared.
An emerging alternative method of manufacturing volume gratings is ultrafast laser inscription (ULI). This technique
uses focused ultrashort laser pulses to induce a localised refractive index modification inside the bulk of a substrate
material. We have recently demonstrated that ULI can be used to create volume gratings for operation in the visible,
near-infrared and mid-infrared regions by inscribing volume gratings in a chalcogenide glass. The direct-write nature of
ULI may then facilitate the fabrication of gratings which are not restricted in terms of their size and grating profile, as is
currently the case with gelatine based VPHGs.
In this paper, we present our work on the manufacture of volume gratings in gallium lanthanum sulphide (GLS)
chalcogenide glass. The gratings are aimed at efficient operation at wavelengths around 1 μm, and the effect of applying
an anti-reflection coating to the substrate to reduce Fresnel reflections is studied.
In this paper we report the fabrication and mid-infrared characterization (λ = 3.39 μm) of evanescent field directional couplers. These devices were fabricated using the femtosecond laser direct-writing technique in commercially available Gallium Lanthanum Sulphide (GLS) glass substrates. We demonstrate that the power splitting ratios of the devices can be controlled by adjusting the length of the interaction section between the waveguides, and consequently we demonstrate power splitting ratios of between 8% and 99% for 3.39 μm light. We anticipate that mid-IR beam integrated-optic beam combination instruments based on this technology will be key for future mid-infrared astronomical interferometry, particularly for nulling interferometry and earth-like exoplanet imaging.
A key requirement for astronomical instruments in next generation Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs) is the
development of large-aperture Integral Field Units (IFUs) that enable the efficient and spatially contiguous sampling of
the telescope image plane for coupling stellar light onto a spectrometer. Current IFUs are complex to fabricate and suffer
from stray light issues, which limits their application in high-contrast studies such as exoplanet imaging. In this paper,
we present our work on the development of freeform microlens arrays using the rapidly maturing technique of ultrafast
laser inscription and selective wet chemical etching. Using the focus spot from a femtosecond laser source as a tool with
an essentially unrestricted “tool-path”, we demonstrate that it is possible to directly write the surface of a lenslet in three
dimensions within the volume of a transparent material. We further show that high surface quality of the lenses can be
achieved by using an oxy-natural gas flame to polish the lens surface roughness that is characteristic of the post-etched
structures. Using our technique, the shape and position of each lenslet can be tailored to match the spatial positioning of
a two-dimensional multimode fiber array, which can be monolithically integrated with the microlens array.
We report the fabrication and characterization of prototype femtosecond-laser direct-written integrated photonic lanterns
for operation in the mid-infrared (mid-IR). The devices were inscribed inside the bulk of a commercial gallium
lanthanum sulphide (GLS) chalcogenide glass substrate and the characterization was performed using monochromatic
light with a wavelength of 3.39 μm. We demonstrate that these proof-of-concept devices are capable of coupling specific
multimode states of light into an array of single-modes, and vice-versa, with low-loss. In the future, instruments that
utilize the single-moded output of such components may find applications in areas such as heterodyne spectroscopy,
interferometry and remote sensing.
Spectroscopy is a technique of paramount importance to astronomy, as it enables the chemical composition, distances
and velocities of celestial objects to be determined. As the diameter of a ground-based telescope increases, the pointspread-
function (PSF) becomes increasingly degraded due to atmospheric seeing. A degraded PSF requires a larger
spectrograph slit-width for efficient coupling and current spectrographs for large telescopes are already on the metre
scale. This presents numerous issues in terms of manufacturability, cost and stability.
As proposed in 2010 by Bland-Hawthorn et al, one approach which may help to improve spectrograph stability
is a guided wave transition, known as a “photonic-lantern”. These devices enable the low-loss reformatting of a
multimode PSF into a diffraction-limited source (in one direction). This pseudo-slit can then be used as the input to a
traditional spectrograph operating at the diffraction limit. In essence, this approach may enable the use of diffractionlimited
spectrographs on large telescopes without an unacceptable reduction in throughput.
We have recently demonstrated that ultrafast laser inscription can be used to realize “integrated” photoniclanterns,
by directly writing three-dimensional optical waveguide structures inside a glass substrate. This paper presents
our work on developing ultrafast laser inscribed devices capable of reformatting a multimode telescope PSF into a
Recent advances in the field of ultrafast laser inscription provide ample evidence underscoring the
potential of this technique in fabricating novel and previously unthinkable 2D and 3D photonic and
optofluidic platforms enabling current sensor, diagnostics, monitoring and biochemical research to
scale new heights. In addition to meeting the demands for compact, active waveguide devices
designed for diverse applications such as optical metrology, non-linear microscopy and
astrophotonics, this technology facilitates the integration of microfluidics with integrated optics
which creates a powerful technology for the manufacture of custom lab-on-chip devices with
advanced functionality. This paper highlights the capabilities of ultrafast laser inscription in
fabricating novel 3D microfluidic devices aimed for biomedical applications.
A continuous flow microfluidic cell separation platform has been designed and fabricated using femtosecond laser
inscription. The device is a scalable and non-invasive cell separation mechanism aimed at separating human embryonic
stem cells from differentiated cells based on the dissimilarities in their cytoskeletal elasticity. Successful demonstration
of the device has been achieved using human leukemia cells the elasticity of which is similar to that of human embryonic