Latest technologies from The University of Arizona
Curved Combiner
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 11:30:12 GMT

The Curved Combiner is an improvement on flat waveguide head-up (i.e. windshields) and near to eye displays (i.e. glasses). The curved nature of the invention allows for image expansion and aesthetically pleasing hardware to be used in a diversified set of applications. The invention contains three holograms to redirect or expand the light that passes through the curved waveguide. Each hologram has a different function to ensure that the image has no aberrations which can occur when using curved waveguides.
 

Background:
Waveguides are currently being produced using flat glass pieces. The advantage of flat waveguides is the small chance of image aberrations when injecting an image through the waveguide. However, flat waveguides limit the opportunity for image expansion and real-world applications. Current systems are bulky and limit integration capabilities. To address this issue, the present invention describes a curvature of the waveguide. The curvature allows the invention to be integrated into more modern applications.
 

Applications:

  • Car windshields
  • Modern glasses
  • Airplane canopies
  • Ticket counters
  • Smart windows
  • Doors of ovens, refrigerators, & freezers
  • Helmets
  • Contact lenses
  • Augmented Reality
  • Retail store window


Advantages:

  • Image expansion
  • Curvature capability of screen
  • Designability
  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Increased comfort for viewer
  • Elimination of image distortion and aberrations in current waveguides 

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,333,893

Optical Printed Circuit Board with Polymer Array Switch
Wed, 15 Aug 2018 10:31:37 GMT

Researchers at the University of Arizona have developed a flexible polymer waveguide array structure that serves as a stitch or jumper on an optical printed circuit board (OPCB). The flexible polymer waveguide array structure can be attached to the OPCB so that it can provide a chip-to-OPCB optical connection. Using an array of small polymer waveguides stitched together onto one circuit board, it provides a solution to the losses and manufacturing difficulties of conventional polymer waveguides, efficiently coupling to individual optical devices, such as silicon photonic chips, and propagating light over distances ranging up to tens of centimeters.

 

Background:
Polymer waveguides are useful for making connections among optical devices at short distances (1mm-10mm). However, at long distances (greater than 10mm), current polymer waveguides experience a number of disadvantages including long exposure times, higher losses, and difficult manufacturing options to reduce losses. The technology presented here solves these issues.

 

Applications:

  • Chip-to-chip/chip-to-connector applications for any electronic circuit boards
  • Chip-to-OPCB optical connection


Advantages:

  • Low losses at distances up to tens of centimeters
  • Can be manufactured using photolithography with no need for long exposure times
  • More relaxed tolerances on lateral alignment

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,327,225

High-Accuracy Receiver for Optical Object Discrimination
Fri, 18 Jun 2021 10:27:43 GMT

This invention describes a device that functions as a receiver for optical object discrimination in a highly accurate and complex way. This technology has applications and improvements in a large range of object discrimination-based technologies like QR or barcode readers.

Background:
Object discrimination technologies are widely used and have broad-ranging applications in various industries. The current standard and closest technology would be QR and passive barcode readers. The inventors have devised a new device and method and improve on applications and accuracy.

In this technology, the receiver will be utilized in high-stability contexts where 1- or 2-dimensional visual codes or other objects must be read or identified using small optics at large distances. Additionally, the technology will be a vast improvement in situations where the use of RF or other active signaling is precluded, for example, in automated sensing contexts.

Applications:

  • Optical object discrimination device using spatial mode analyzer or spatial parity sorter for the purpose of arbitrary 2D object classification
  •  Potential applications in astronomy, medical imaging, and other optical microscopy


Advantages:

  • Highly accurate
  • Diverse range of object discrimination applications
Symmetric Logarithmic Derivative Eigen-projection Adaptive Algorithm for Super-Resolution Imaging
Fri, 18 Jun 2021 10:30:00 GMT

This technology describes an eigen-projection adaptive algorithm that can be used for super-resolution imaging in a variety of contexts, including life-sciences microscopy or astronomy.

Background:
Traditional advanced microscopy or telescopy uses several different measuring methods to estimate brightness, deduce position, and discriminate between object bodies. These methods work well, but often there must be additional technology or algorithms deployed to enhance the resolution.

In this technology, the inventors propose a new and improved adaptive algorithm that can yield super-resolution imaging in a variety of contexts. They propose to do this by having developed a symmetric logarithmic derivative eigen-projection adaptive algorithm. The algorithm works by its two main stages of initialization and establishing the symmetric logarithmic derivative (SLD) eigen-projection.

Applications:

  • Super-resolution life sciences or subcellular microscopy
  • Telescopic devices for astronomical or extra-galactic imaging and viewing


Advantages:

  • Super-resolution
  • Adaptive algorithm
Method and Apparatus for In-Line Photoacoustic Imaging
Mon, 11 Jan 2021 14:52:03 GMT

This technology is an optical system consisting of a right angle prism, or thin parallel plate, in conjunction with water, an index matching fluid, or some other liquid, that completely reflects acoustic waves to and from an array ultrasound transducer while being optically transparent. The geometry allows simultaneous direct illumination, with high-energy laser pulses, of the region imaged by the ultrasound transducer array.  This extends the existing capabilities of an ultrasound transducer with the ability to acquire photoacoustic data.

This device addresses the challenge of illuminating thick samples with relatively large transducer arrays impeding the direct illumination of the imaging area. This is the first known method of directly illuminating thick media for imaging with array transducers without redirecting the light around the transducer or custom designing the transducer.

Background:
The photoacoustic effect is a conversion between light and acoustic waves due to absorption and localized thermal excitation. When rapid pulses of light are incident on a sample of matter, they can be absorbed and the resulting energy will then be radiated as heat. This heat causes detectable sound waves due to pressure variation in the surrounding medium.

Advantage: 

  • Simple design
  • Potentially enables the development of low cost photoacoustic probes built upon existing ultrasound probes
  • Simplifies setup for medical imaging and biomedical research

Application:

  • Medical diagnostic applications, potentially ranging from cancer detection to aiding in the early diagnosis of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s

Status: issued U.S. Patent #8,879,352 - Ultrasonic/photoacoustic imaging devices and methods and U.S. Patent #10,241,199 - Ultrasonic/photoacoustic imaging devices and methods

Mode Scrambler for Increasing Numerical Aperture
Thu, 14 Apr 2022 12:31:52 GMT

This project is one of the three improvements to a falloposcope under development described in UA19-249. This falloposcope was designed with optical elements selected for detection of early stage ovarian cancer in fallopian tube epithelium. The mode scrambler improvement in this project acts to widen and brighten the illumination profile to better serve imaging the fallopian tube lumen. This is particularly important at the farther ends of the tubes, where the tubes branch into fingers. Cancer research has focused on the transfer of pre-cancerous lesions from the fallopian tube epithelium to the ovary surface at this interface.

 

Background:

Although rare, ovarian cancer is often deadly because it is detected late. Pelvic ultrasounds and the CA-125 blood test are generally accurate for detecting late stage III-IV ovarian cancer, but the survival rates are less than 30%, compared with > 90% survival rates for cancer detected in early stages, I-II. Therefore, there is strong interest in developing better early detection screening procedures, particularly for high risk women with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation. A reliable early detection procedure would provide an option other than removal of all reproductive organs after 40 for high risk women. Current research includes examining early stage lesions on the surface of ovaries and fallopian tube epithelium. Access to the fallopian tubes through the cervix is an attractive option because it does not involve surgery; instead, falloposcopic examination can be done in a clinic with mild sedation. However, to be effective, a falloposcope must be small enough to pass through the narrow 1mm opening from the uterus to the proximal portion of the fallopian tube but it must have sufficient resolution and field of view to image the 4cm wide fimbral portion of the tube approximately 10cm away.

 

Other companies using fiber optics have employed similar methods for achieving changed illumination profiles though not in the field of endoscopic examination of the fallopian tubes for early cancer screening.

 

Applications:

  • Falloposcopic tuboplasty
  • Detection of early stage ovarian cancer

Advantages:

  • Easy to manufacture and implement in falloposcope prototype
  • Inexpensive
Pink Blue Blockers
Wed, 03 Nov 2021 17:08:27 GMT

This invention uses pink lenses as an efficient way to block blue light while appealing to younger users and those who have a difficult time wearing the more visually cumbersome orange or red lenses. The use of blue light blocking glasses have recently become more popular for the general public because an increasing number of individuals spend a majority of their day looking at screens. The most effective lenses at blocking blue lightred and orange lensesare difficult to wear and are not aesthetically appealing to younger users.

Background:
Currently, most blue light blocking technology in glasses is manifest in four different colors: clear (to the extent clear is a color), yellow, orange, and redthe darker the color, the greater the ability of the lenses to block blue light. Orange and red are worn by users to promote healthy sleep habits. This is especially important because blue light suppresses the generation of melatonin. Therefore, the logic goes, the use of strong blue light suppression glasses allows the user two benefits: (1) Continuing use of devices that may be necessary for work or entertainment; and (2) Generating melatonin at normal levels and allowing for normal sleep patterns. Furthermore, blue light puts a great strain on the eyes of those who constantly look at blue light, which is no small percentage of the population.

Applications:

  • Bolstering circadian rhythm
  • Blocking excessive blue light


Advantages:

  • Stylish
  • More effective than clear lenses
Novel High Refractive Index and Abbie Value Polymers for Advanced Lower Cost Optical Eyewear
Wed, 15 Sep 2021 11:17:20 GMT

Copolymerization of chalcogenide halides with widely available unsaturated monomers is used to create advanced polymer materials for consumer plastic optics, consumer eye wear, and smart phone plastic optics. 

Background:
Sulfenyl chlorides are a widely known but largely ignored class of sulfur compounds that are highly reactive toward nucleophiles and electrophilic unsaturated compounds.  Sulfenyl chlorides are closely related to organosulfur thiol and mercaptan molecules were the R-S-H bond is replaced via chlorination reactions to form the R-S-Cl, which is constitutes the sulfenyl chloride moiety.  The S-Cl functional group is dipolar covalent in nature and can be considered a strong electrophile for attack by nucleophilic compoudnds such as, alcohols/alkoxides, Grignard reagents, organolithium reagents to form various organodisulfide compounds. 

The inventors have developed novel polymers focusing on the electrophilic addition of (organo)sulfenyl chlorides to unsaturated compounds, which primarily comprise of alkenyl and alkynyl molecules such as vinylics, styrenics, acrylates, allylics, cyclic olefins, and both internal and terminal alkynes. 

Applications:

  • Lenses with high Abbie number and high refractive index
  • Consumer optical plastics
  • Smartphone or technology optical plastics
  • Applications to microscope or telescope lenses


Advantages:

  • Improved performance and reduced cost compared to polycarbonate lenses
  • Solution or melt processing
  • Moderate temperature processing
  • Proton-free formation with no fluorination
A Photorefractive, High Refractive Optical Polymers from Styrenic Sulfide Monomers
Mon, 17 Sep 2018 14:47:12 GMT

This invention is a novel method to create optical polymer with regions of high and low refractive index.

 

Background:
The inventors were motivated by large technological motivation for optical polymers that are low-cost and have variable refractive index, especially in telecommunication. They have demonstrated the synthesis of a new compound, a new type of polymer, which can be used on the fabrication of new optical devices.

 

Applications:

  • Novel way to make new polymers that can have variable refractive index
  • Create new optical devices

 

Advantages:

  • High refractive index
  • Refractive index is tunable during the polymerization process
A System to Generate an Animated Hologram of 3D Human Face with a Fixed 3D Human Face
Tue, 24 Apr 2018 13:42:04 GMT

This technology enhances the traditional mirascope experience by producing animated 3D holographic of human faces. These images are customizable through the use of a companion app that is downloadable to computers and smartphones.

 

Background:
Current 3D holographic images produced from mirascopes suffer from inability to create animated 3D holographic images. The technology presented here resolves this issue by providing a mirascope capable of displaying complex human facial expressions and movements.

 

Applications:

  • Entertainment
  • Toys
  • Museums


Advantages:

  • Flexible mirascope
  • Animates facial expressions
  • Displays complex movements
Gamma Ray Imaging System for Rapid and Precise Detection of Radioactive Materials from a Distance
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 08:01:26 GMT

This invention is a gamma detection system that determines the position and energy of gamma sources within its field of view without using a pixelated full-energy detector. In addition, the present gamma ray imaging systems utilize coincidence measurements, which reduces the background level compared to systems that do not use coincidence methods to filter detected events.

 

Advantages:

  • Greater detection efficiency than a pixelated full-energy detector
  • Provides for a less expensive system than conventional gamma ray imaging systems, such as a conventional Compton camera or a conventional coded aperture camera
  • Versatile use - mobile, vehicle mounted, handheld


Applications:

  • Nuclear medicine
  • Homeland security
  • Decommissioning of nuclear power plants
  • Astronomy

 

Status: issued U.S. patent #9,057,684

Patterned Metallization for Hybrid Metal-Semiconductor Mirror of High Reflectivity
Sat, 04 Feb 2017 13:40:19 GMT

Researchers at the University of Arizona have designed a novel hybrid metal-semiconductor mirror for use with VECSELs. A novel method of deposition incorporating a patterned mask allows for the use of gold in conjunction with GaAs. The DBR thickness is reduced, as is the thermal impedance, resulting in high reflectivity and high gain.

 

Background: 
Vertical External Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VECSELs) typically have low gain that requires a highly reflective mirror of at least 99.9% reflectivity to be attached to the gain medium.  Most DBR mirrors used for this purpose have a large number of layered pairs of AlGaAs/AlA, and at longer wavelengths, the materials are changed to InP-based materials.  They are still thick and thus have high thermal impedance.

 

Advantages:

  • Reduced thermal impedance and higher gain
  • Increased power efficiency
  • Covers both the pump and the laser signal wavelengths


Applications:

  • High powered VECSELs
  • Spectroscopy
  • Microwave and Terahertz photonics
  • Medical imaging sources

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,283,241

Fabrication Of Polymer Waveguide Interconnect Between Chips With A Gap/Step Using Flexible Polymer Dry Film Resist For Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs)
Thu, 29 Nov 2018 13:10:57 GMT

This technology describes a new method to form a stable physical barrier between chips within a photonic integrated circuit (PIC), utilizing polymer dry film negative resist. The technique enables the  fabrication of polymer waveguide interconnects.

 

Background:

The current standard of applying polymer dry film resists works well for a single chip However, when there is a gap or step between two chips, the resist can break at the gap/step upon removing the backing.

 

Applications:

  • Fabrication of polymer waveguide interconnects
  • Potential for use in creating PICs

 

Advantages:

  • Flexible
  • Provides a physical barrier for waveguides
  • Keep dry film intact

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,275,208

Snapshot Interferometer for Surface Profile and Roughness
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 12:42:46 GMT

Researchers at the University of Arizona have designed an instrument that can take a "snapshot" of a surface's profile and roughness simultaneously. The non-contact metrology tool is high speed with high sensitivity, precision, and resolution. It can be used with a variety of light sources across various applications.

 

Background:
Metrology is an integral part of the automated manufacturing process. As new processes become automated, new technology must be developed to handle the imaging of more complex parts quickly, while being low-cost, scalable and, in many cases, portable. Instruments exist to measure either surface profile or surface roughness, but it would be more cost efficient to have a single instrument which could do both.

 

Applications:

  • Form measuring machines
  • Surface roughness measurement
  • Contour measuring tools
  • Roundness measurement
  • Portable metrology
  • In line metrology


Advantages:

  • Captures the profile and roughness in one take
  • Reduces imaging processing time
  • Longer coherence lengths than traditional light sources
  • Has multiple embodiments allowing for different applications

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,274,915

Coded-Aperture System for Planar Imaging of Volumetric Sources
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 15:37:53 GMT

This invention is a method for obtaining parallel projections (i.e. 2D planar images) of a 3D object without the use of a parallel bore collimator while offering improved resolution and decreased resolution degradation with increasing object depth. The method involves measuring the photon flux of a gamma photon emitting source from within the subject’s body in a novel fashion, and processing these measurements with computer software that utilizes a unique mathematical process. 

 

Background:
Nuclear medical imaging encompasses scintigraphy (using internal radionuclides and gamma cameras to produce 2D images) and Single Photon Emission Tomography, or SPECT (producing 3D images through use of similar techniques combined with tomographic 3D reconstruction methods). 2D imaging methods utilizing collimators produce relatively low resolution images, and resolution degrades with greater depth of the imaged object. Existing methods that utilize coded apertures and semiconductor detectors for 2D nuclear imaging suffer from increased mechanical complexity while offering only marginal improvements in resolution degradation with depth in 3D objects. 

 

Advantages:

  • Enhanced resolution
  • Decreased resolution degradation with increasing object depth   

Applications: 

  • Planar, 2D nuclear medical imaging
  • 3D nuclear medical imaging technologies like Single Positron Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
  • Defense and homeland security
  • Gamma ray astronomy
  • Particle physics
  • Early pharmaceutical development
  • Molecular biology  

Stage of development: Demonstrated proof of concept

3D Printed Lens for Imaging in Falloposcope
Tue, 15 Jun 2021 20:08:01 GMT

This project proposes three improvements to a falloposcope under development. This falloposcope was designed with optical elements selected for detection of early stage ovarian cancer in fallopian tube epithelium. The data collected by the falloposcope is grounded in a growing body of medical research.


Falloposcopes were used in the 1990s to treat infertility through cannulation of tubal occlusions. However, use waned because devices were fragile and required greater training to use. Plus, IVF was gaining popularity and generally the preferred method for treating infertility. Pregnancy rates from IVF and falloposcopic tuboplasty (FT) were similar though, and better quality images might improve the diagnosis of tubal patency (health of lumen and mucosa) which is a factor for understanding infertility.

 

Background:
Although rare, ovarian cancer is often deadly because it is detected late. Pelvic ultrasounds and the CA-125 blood test are generally accurate for detecting late stage III-IV ovarian cancer, but the survival rates are less than 30%, compared with > 90% survival rates for cancer detected in early stages, I-II. Therefore, there is strong interest in developing better early detection screening procedures, particularly for high risk women with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation. A reliable early detection procedure would provide an option other than removal of all reproductive organs after 40 for high risk women.

Research includes examining early stage lesions on the surface of ovaries and fallopian tube epithelium. Access to the fallopian tubes through the cervix is an attraction option because it does not involve surgery; instead, falloposcopic examination can be done in a clinic with mild sedation. However, to be effective, a falloposcope must be small enough to pass through the narrow 1mm opening from the uterus to the proximal portion of the fallopian tube but it must have sufficient resolution and field of view to image the 4cm wide fimbral portion of the tube approximately 10cm away.

 

Applications:

  • Falloposcopic tuboplasty
  • Detection of early stage ovarian cancer

 

Advantages:

  • Small diameter
  • Sophisticated optics
  • Able to collect variety of data
White Light Interferometry Imager
Thu, 26 Sep 2019 14:02:12 GMT

This technology is an EDOF system that maintains high lateral resolution while extending the depth of field.  It is based on white light interferometry but adds the feature that the interferometer scans through the different depths of an object to create a depth map.

 

Background:

White light interferometry offers a solution to the age-old trade-off in optics between depth of field and lateral field of view. Using white light interferometry, contrast fringes in interference images appear near zero optical path difference and best focus. By scanning through a range of height positions and integrating the resulting 3D data cube into a final 2D image, one can create a focused, full color 2D object image. However, this process is both data collection and processing intensive. This project proposes a method to reduce both data collection time and the degree of post-processing needed to create a final focused image.

 

The relative phase between the signal and reference of the interferometer is not taken into account when examining the contrast fringes. The most accurate height measurements with height resolution on the order of 0.5 nanometers are from systems using best focus from contrast fringes and phase-shift data to correlate phase differences to surface height deltas. This project uses the contrast fringes for best focus measurements for height resolution on the order of microns.

 

Applications:

  • Optical surface profilers (measurement tools using white light interferometry) are available from a number of optics companies, but data acquisition speeds are on the order of seconds. This project could reduce processing time to a fraction of a second.
  • Currently, interferometric methods are used for ophthalmology but interest is growing in the medical community for non-invasive detailed surface measurement techniques.


Advantages:

  • Leverages existing technology and improves efficiency
  • Faster data collection and less post-processing
  • Could expand use of white light interferometry systems to industrial screening conditions requiring higher inspection rates
Virtual Deflectometry Enclosure Screen
Mon, 11 Mar 2019 12:49:15 GMT

This invention is a system designed to perform optical quality metrology on freeform or convex optics.  This system provides a full aperture surface reconstruction sag map of freeform surfaces. The method relies on the creation of virtual source enclosure that surrounds the unit under testing (UUT) and produces a virtual 2 Pi-steradian measurement range. 

 

Background:

Freeform optics provide many possibilities in the design of cutting-edge optical systems. However, their fabrication and metrology are challenging. To verify the freeform shape, two non-contact optical metrology methods are commonly used for UUT, interferometry and deflectometry. Interferometry offers high accuracy and precision in surface metrology. However, this method relies on prohibitively expensive computer-generated holograms and requires a null setup to obtain accurate results.  Deflectometry is an alternative non-null test method that relies on rays leaving a source, being deflected by a UUT. Convex optics both standard and freeform are highly challenging to measure. Interferometric approaches typically require measuring sub-apertures that are then stitched together. The required setup is not always a viable option. Deflectometry is used in 3D construction for surfaces up to weak convex surfaces; however; a full aperture optical precision test of general convex surfaces is yet to be achieved.

 

Applications:

  • Metrology of freeform and convex optics


Advantages:

  • Creates a full aperture surface sag map of freeform surfaces including highly convex surfaces
Fast Volumetric Imaging of Fluorescent Tissue Structures and Activities
Wed, 27 Mar 2019 13:11:59 GMT

Researchers at the University of Arizona have developed a novel microscope imaging technique that generates high-resolution large-volume 3D images of tissue at subcellular resolution, and captures transient activities within the volume at 100 volume frames per second (vps). The invention breaks away from the traditional plane-scanning approach and implements volumetric projection imaging instead.

 

Background:

In order to study complex dynamics of tissue in live animals, ideally the microscope needs to maintain the sub-micron resolution in deep tissue to resolve activities in subcellular structures, cover a large volume to analyze complex networks, and refresh the volumetric image at high speed to capture transient dynamics.  However, despite many processes, at present there are no known microscopic techniques that fully satisfy the need for resolution, penetration, volume and speed.

 

Applications:

  • Fast 3D subcellular imaging for organs, tissues, and other body parts


Advantages:

  • Intrinsic high 3D resolution
  • Simplified image processing
  • Faster frame rates; can accommodate movement in sample
  • Large image area/field of view
  • Twice the photon sensitivity for increased photon efficiency
Integrated Frequency Locked Optical Whispering Evanescent Resonator (FLOWER) based on Raspberry Pi
Mon, 11 Mar 2019 13:08:15 GMT

Raspberry Pi is a card-sized mini-computer that acts as a data processing center that replaces the prior commercial frequency locking system. It greatly reduces the size and the weight of the FLOWER system, making it possible for the FLOWER system to be carried by people or mounted on a drone.

This optical technology has remote sensing capabilities that can be used in biomedical research for COVID-19.

Background:

FLOWER (frequency locked optical whispering evanescent resonator) is a currently patented system (9,739,770B2) which can measure low concentrations of biological and chemical molecules down to the single molecule limit. Although FLOWER is able to sense low concentrations of molecules, it occupies a large footprint and currently fits on a 4’ x 6’ optical table in the lab. This technology miniaturizes FLOWER, making it lightweight and portable. 

Applications:

  • An instrument to detect individual biomedical nanoparticles
  • Remote sensing capabilities


Advantages:

  • More portable
  • Higher processing capability
  • Ability to connect to the internet
  • Ability to share data
  • Less expensive

rssfeedwidget.com