February 16, 2021

Optics in life sciences improves quality of life: A conversation with Jose Pozo of EPIC

Optics in life sciences improves quality of life: A conversation with Jose Pozo of EPIC

Over this past year, the influence of optics in the life sciences and medical field has come to the forefront from medical diagnosis and treatment to sanitization of masks and equipment. EPIC is an industry association that fosters the advancement of the photonics field in Europe, and many of its members offer optics solutions for the life sciences industry.

In a recent live webinar, Zemax CTO, Sanjay Gangadhara and EPIC Director of Technology and Innovation, Jose Pozo discussed innovations and trends in the life sciences industry and the role optics plays in furthering the advancement of the field. This exciting and energetic discussion touched on how COVID-19 and the global pandemic were a catalyst for innovation in optics technology to help with the prevention and treatment of the virus.

Working together to improve global health

The use of optics and photonics in life sciences is not new, but recent events have brought to light how when the two fields come together, the ability to improve the quality of all our lives grows tenfold. Jose and Sanjay discussed some of the interesting innovations that have come out of the pandemic include the use of UV-C lighting to not only decontaminate masks and medical equipment, but also to decontaminate passenger train cars and purify water. In addition, the use of infrared technology has become a popular way to read body temperature on a grander scale.

In the past, the use of photonic integrated circuits (PICs) for life science and medical applications has been slowed by high costs. But increased demand for these products driven by the global pandemic has resulted in driving prices down. Regulations and slow government processes have also been a barrier to getting medical innovations to market. EPIC is dedicated to helping break these barriers and has worked with EU government agencies to speed up processes to bring vital life sciences technologies to the world quicker.

The game-changing technology for faster diagnosis

Hyperspectral imaging—when every pixel in a camera acts as its own spectrometer—allows doctors to see abnormalities in their patients with higher resolution and accuracy and to diagnose disease in a quick, non-invasive manner. Through the use of this technology, doctors conduct point-of-care scanning to determine the chemical composition of human tissue. Different wavelengths are used to probe different depths of tissue, providing doctors with evidence of disease or injury in real-time, much faster and safer than in a standard clinical setting.

Right now, photonics companies such as Imec are working on process for developing this technology in not only a useable but cost-efficient manner, so that in a few years it could be in consumer products such as cell phones or smart watches. This will allow a patient to use hyperspectral imaging technology in the privacy of their own home and send the data to their doctor.

“Hyperspectral imaging is a fascinating and exciting technology, that increases overall human health and longevity with the ability to diagnose diseases earlier and sometimes even prevent illness.”  -Sanjay Gangadhara, CTO, Zemax

Every photon counts

An efficient optical design is key to the success and scalability of any optical product.   Combining the use of accurate, robust simulation tools and open communication with the manufacturer, the creation of a strong product in less time and iterations is possible. Jose discussed EPIC’s role in this process, and how they encourage optics companies to first consider the packaging and assembly of their product and the impact this will have on design and manufacturing. This helps companies control costs and reduce time to market. 

This remarkable conversation is informative for both optical designers and non-optical professionals. If you weren’t able to attend this webinar, you can view the recording here.

Join us for a Photonics networking and educational event

As part of our continued partnership with EPIC, we are participating in the PHOTONICS+ Virtual Exhibition and Conference, taking place on February 17th and 18th.  Make sure to stop by our virtual booth and learn more about our newest product releases and get a sneak peek at what future developments. We are also offering the opportunity to schedule time with one of our team members during the show. Simply fill out this form and one of our team members will reach out to schedule your meeting. We look forward to seeing you there!

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