FAMOS – efficient diode lasers as key part in medical diagnostics

FAMOS - tapered laser for medical diagnostics
FAMOS - tapered laser for medical diagnostics

Today’s diagnosis and therapy control of diseases such as cancer call for sophisticated imaging methods and mechanical biopsies. FAMOS aims at promoting far less prevalent but capable and less cost-intensive laser-optical diagnosis. Optical techniques allow for non-invasive examinations of surface tissue such as human skin, retina, and intestine without requiring ionizing radiation and contrast agents. 

The project builds up on optical coherence tomography (OCT), a key technology precisely displaying structures which are located a few millimeters inside the tissue. The required femto-second lasers are bulky and complicated in operation, need to be water-cooled and are therefore not portable. FAMOS is addressing these features: with it, the light sources shall become more compact and efficient. The task at FBH is to develop semiconductor lasers with high output power and very high beam quality. These lasers are frequency converted for direct pumping of femto-second titanium-sapphire lasers in OCT systems, enabling a smaller and thus mobile examination system.  

A titanium-sapphire laser can be stimulated at wavelengths around 500 nm. Up to now, mostly water-cooled solid-state lasers with an emission wavelength of 532 nm have been used. In FAMOS, a more efficient, shorter wavelength of 515 nm has been chosen. The aim is to generate 10 Watt optical output power at 1030 nm for frequency conversion to 515 nm. The overall efficiency shall be so high that no sophisticated cooling will be necessary. Thus, the equipment in OCT will shrink to one fifth of its current size and accordingly be portable and cost-efficient. Therefore, this tiny FBH laser will be the key part of the new technology.

FAMOS is funded by the FP7-ICT Programme of the European Commission (duration: 01.10.2012 – 30.09.2016).