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BE-OPTICAL receives €3.4 million from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions)

The UPC is coordinating a European project on new optical and photonic technologies for early diagnosis of diseases

Cristina Massoller and Meritxell Vilaseca, researchers of the Terrassa Campus of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), are coordinating the European project BE-OPTICAL, which will create new optical and photonic technologies for obtaining images that surpass the limitations of the wavelength of light, something which has not been achieved so far. The clinical equipment to be manufactured at the end of the project will offer accurate early diagnosis of coronary and eye diseases. Massoller and Vilaseca are coordinating a team of eight research centres, universities and companies from five European countries, including the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

03/11/2016
The healthcare sector is increasingly reliant on imaging technologies to obtain key information for early diagnosis. If scientists are able to exceed the wavelength of light, it will be possible to manufacture precise and effective instruments that can be used to capture high-resolution images of the cell interior, for example. This is one of the objectives of BE-OPTICAL, a European project coordinated by Cristina Masoller and Meritxell Vilaseca, Catalan scientists working on the Terrassa Campus of the UPC.

The heart and the eyes
The two researchers are coordinating a team of eight scientists and industrial research centres, universities, companies and hospitals from Germany, France, Poland, the UK and Spain, with a four-year budget of €3.4 million provided by the EU.

By 2019 the scientists expect to be able to exceed the wavelength of light. The new technique will allow them to make clinical instruments that can generate high-resolution coronary images to replace the current electrical impulse techniques. It will also be used to develop new light sources and sensors to observe the eye more accurately and thus obtain more information for the early diagnosis of cataracts, glaucoma and other diseases of the retina.

The visual experimentation work will be carried out at the Institute of Ocular Microsurgery in Barcelona and the Davalor Research Centre on the Terrassa Campus. The coronary observation techniques will be tested in vivo with mice at the Max Plank Institute in Germany.

Cristina Masoller is a professor at the Department of Physics of the Terrassa School of Industrial, Aerospace and Audiovisual Engineering (ESEIAAT) and a researcher at the Nonlinear Dynamics, Nonlinear Optics and Lasers (DNOLL) research group of the UPC. Meritxell Vilaseca is a professor at the Department of Optics and Optometry of the Terrassa School of Optics and Optometry (FOOT) and a researcher at the Centre for Sensors, Instruments and Systems Development (CD6) of the UPC.

The project partners
The BE-OPTICAL project is coordinated by the UPC. The partners are the Institute of Physics of the Georg August University Göttingen and the Biomedical Physics group of the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organisation in Germany; the University of St. Andrews in Scotland; the Institute of Ocular Microsurgery in Barcelona; the Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France; the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland; the University of Glasgow in Scotland; and PicoQuant, a German company manufacturing precision optical instruments.


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