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We aim to develop new optical and photoacoustic monitoring instruments and techniques for medical applications.

Optical methods exploit the optical properties of natural chromophores, particularly the different absorption spectra of oxygenated and deoxygenated haemoglobin. They offer certain advantages over other clinical spectroscopic and imaging methods: they use safe, non-ionising radiation, they provide functional information, and they can be used for continuous bedside monitoring.

Members of BORL are also part of smaller, closely-linked research groups:

Near Infrared Spectroscopy and Multimodal Spectroscopy

Clare Elwell, Ilias Tachtsidis

The Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) group develops NIRS as a clinical and research tool for monitoring, continuously and non-invasively, haemodynamic and metabolic variables in the brain and muscle.

The Multimodal spectroscopy (MMS) group explores the use of complimentary spectroscopic modalities to measure brain tissue haemodynamics and metabolism such as the fusion of magnetic resonance spectroscopy and near-infrared spectroscopy.

Optical and Multimodal Imaging

Jem Hebden, Adam Gibson, Nick Everdell, Rob Cooper, Danial Chitnis, Sabrine Brigadoi, Sam Powell

We develop new instrumentation for diagnostic and functional imaging, based mainly around our 3D time-resolved optical tomography system called MONSTIR and a 2D optical topography system for brain imaging. We also work on new experimental methods in optical imaging, predominantly of the breast and neonatal brain.

Optical imaging has some unique benefits, but also some disadvantages which we try to minimise by multimodality imaging. We also exploit the physiological information which optical and other imaging modalities provide by developing intelligent imaging methods.

Image Reconstruction, Theory, and Modelling

Simon Arridge, Martin Schweiger

We develop novel models of light propagation in tissue (the forward problem) and apply them to optical tomography (the inverse problem). We have developed sophisticated finite element modelling of photon transport in tissue, and non-linear optimisation methods for image reconstruction, available in a software package called TOAST.

Photoacoustic Imaging and Optical Ultrasound Sensing

Paul Beard, Ben Cox, Edward Zhang, Thomas Allen

Photoacoustic techniques and instruments are being developed both for spectroscopy and for imaging. The approach combines the functional information available from optical measurements with the spatial localisation characteristic of diagnostic ultrasound. 

Medical Lasers and Endoscopy

Tim Mills, Sandy Mosse

This group carries out research into endoscopy, photodynamic therapy (PDT), and the use of coherent backscatter to measure tissue optical properties. We support  the National Medical Laser Centre and provide laser safety advice to UCL, UCL Hospitals and private clinics based in London and elsewhere. 

Acousto-optic Sensing and Imaging

Terence Leung, Shihong Jiang, Sonny Gunadi, Samuel Powell

We exploit acousto-optics, a hybrid optical and ultrasound technique, to perform sensing and imaging for biomedical applications. Acousto-optic technqiues can provide a localised measurement of both optical and acoustic properties in a turbid medium, thanks to the ability of focused ultrasound to "tag" light at a specific region.