Project: Development of an innovative tuneable device for high sensitivity measurement for research and biomedical applications

Fluorescence techniques are very useful and growing in biotechnology and laboratory analysis. They are used for the early detection of pathologies, in kinetic studies, immunoassay procedures, in-situ analyses, DNA sequencing and the study of ligand binding and micromolecular motions. _x000D__x000D_Spectrometers with diffraction gratings are the standard method for wavelength selection for research on the above topics but are unsuitable for point of care instruments. Such devices show problems with unwanted stray light when measuring fluorescent samples. The techniques used to correct these problems (double monochromators) considerably add size and cost to the price of a spectrometer._x000D__x000D_Clinicians, surgeons and researchers are demanding devices with greater sensitivity in order to make earlier diagnosis and treatment with attendant enhanced patient safety and less loss of quality of life as well as the development of new diagnostic techniques. This is particularly important for the diagnosis of severe and /or scalable pathologies (cancer, cataract, infections) for which the required level of sensitivity in the analysis is very high at an early stage. _x000D__x000D_In this context, EDINBURGH INSTRUMENTS (EI), A Scottish research-intensive SME, specialised in the manufacture of high technology photonics and fluorescence products and the Danish GTS Institute DELTA (DT), which develops first-class interference filters, have decided to work on generic wavelength tuneable devices based on the use of interference filters. _x000D__x000D_The goal of the OPTITUNE project is to develop a range of devices to give higher sensitivity and smaller volume, with competitive pricing to encourage widespread use. One device will be developed for retrofit into existing/installed spectrometer instruments and as a sub-component for utilisation in new systems. In the end, the device should be compact and economical and will reduce stray light by two or more orders of magnitude._x000D__x000D_The proposed wedge filter wavelength selector will also provide an “interference filter spectrometer” which will have a light grasp improved by 10 to 100 fold over existing devices._x000D__x000D_Among the possible application of the new concept in the sector of laboratory analytical and life science instrument, the Ps have chosen to adapt the device to the primary diagnosis of cataract._x000D_Cataract is a common pathology, but reCOs the first cause for blindness worldwide (about 16 million persons according to the International Council of Ophthalmology) primarily because poor people do not have access to sight restoring cataract surgery. In wealthy countries, it is a major concern because of the economic and human cost related to the large numbers of operations performed. Approximately 3 million cataract surgeries are performed annually in the United States and 300,000 in the United Kingdom in 2008 according to the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons._x000D_From this perspective, it is at stake to alleviate false diagnosis done on sight, reduce the cost of cataract surgery, notably by performing surgery at the earliest stage and to accelerate the research on alternative treatments._x000D__x000D_The cataract measurement requires both high light grasp (for patient safety in vivo tests) and spectral scanning. This latter is shown by use of grating spectrometers (EI's core products) in preliminary experiments but is unsuitable for point of care (POC) devices. A spectral shift in the fluorescent output of ~325-335nm i.e. 10 nm change occurs on denaturing eye fluid and a new emission wavelength is observed on irradiation by UV light. Thus making interference filters tunable allows spectral scan and high levels of light grasp ~100 times better than a grating. This is an important application of this new and generic method proposed here._x000D_The OPTITUNE device developed by the project would be used as a new research tool towards therapy replacing surgery and pave the way for the development of new potential devices for every vision scientist._x000D__x000D_There will be immediate and widespread applications, notably to on-going European projects, in which EI is involved:_x000D_- to lung cancer research through the FP6 STREP project called POC4LIFE aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of using multiplexed FRET analysis on a point of care diagnosis platform ( It will also offer the opportunity to extend the application to other types of cancer, prenatal screening or ICU patient management._x000D_- to Alzheimer’s research through the FP7 project Nanognostics (Project Number 242264). _x000D__x000D__x000D__x000D_

Acronym OPTITUNE (Reference Number: 5147)
Duration 30/03/2010 - 30/09/2012
Project Topic Development of an innovative tuneable interference filter for fluorescence spectroscopy. Such device will provide high capability of light energy grasp and tuneable wavelength which will help the implementation of earliest diagnosis in laboratory analysis.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
DELTA was able to develop technology to design and manufacture a new quality level of linear variable optical filters. Our filters have enabled researchers and instrument manufacturers within the field of fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy to implement multispectral analysis principles with unmatched light sensitivity.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 3

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
2 DELTA Light & Optics Partner Denmark
2 EDINBURGH INSTRUMENTS Coordinator United Kingdom