Optical biopsy describes a range of medical procedures in which light is used to investigate disease in the body, often in hard-to-reach regions via optical fibres. Optical biopsies can reveal a multitude of diagnostic information to aid therapeutic diagnosis and treatment with higher specificity and shorter delay than traditional surgical techniques. One specific type of optical biopsy relies on Raman spectroscopy to differentiate tissue types at the molecular level and has been used successfully to stage cancer. However, complex micro-optical systems are usually needed at the distal end to optimise the signal-to-noise properties of the Raman signal collected. Manufacturing these devices, particularly in a way suitable for large scale adoption, remains a critical challenge. In this paper, we describe a novel fibre-fed micro-optic system designed for efficient signal delivery and collection during a Raman spectroscopy-based optical biopsy. Crucially, we fabricate the device using a direct-laser-writing technique known as ultrafast laser-assisted etching which is scalable and allows components to be aligned passively. The Raman probe has a sub-millimetre diameter and offers confocal signal collection with 71.3% ± 1.5% collection efficiency over a 0.8 numerical aperture. Proof of concept spectral measurements were performed on mouse intestinal tissue and compared with results obtained using a commercial Raman microscope.
- Optical biopsy
- Raman spectroscopy
- Ultrafast laser-assisted etching
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Control and Systems Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering