SBIR Phase II: Nondestructive/noninvasive three-dimensional imaging with Gabor-domain optical coherence microscopy

Period of Performance: 08/21/2015 - 08/31/2017

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

LighTopTech Corp.
150 Lucius Gordon Dr Ste 100
West Henrietta, NY 14586
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will explore the applicability of a Gabor-domain optical coherence microscopy (GD-OCM) instrument to image and evaluate optical materials as part of the manufacturing process. The immediate broader impact of this project is to effectively provide both qualitative and quantitative information about product quality in manufacturing, with an initial focus on contact lens manufacturing. Providing high-speed, industrial, micrometer-level resolution in all three dimensions, GD-OCM enables contact lens manufacturers to replace multiple inspection steps with a single measurement done automatically, reducing the opportunity for damaging the samples and human error, and ultimately leading to increased productivity and yield. The resulting improvements in contact lens performance and extended wear effects are poised to have a positive impact on a significant percentage of the population. Recent evaluations of GD-OCM have indicated its ability to provide a new wealth of characterization methods for quality control of various materials that are otherwise impossible to characterize nondestructively, including gradient refractive index polymers, glass and layered structures. Additionally, GD-OCM will enable new advances in a wide variety of scientific fields via its capability to non-invasively optically section samples of a variety of material types. The objective of this Phase II project is to establish the effectiveness of the emerging GD-OCM technology for nondestructive on-line metrology of contact lenses in manufacturing. Quality control and detection of product-significant defects, and a corresponding increase in production yield, represent the value proposition for the introduction of GD-OCM instrumentation into the contact lens production environment. The project will result in two major outcomes: 1) implementation of a robust production-environment instrument to effectively provide micrometer-level resolution in all three dimensions and quantification of yield-relevant contact lens quality metrics not previously available in a single instrument; and 2) demonstration of the technology for inspection in a production environment to rapidly and accurately monitor defects and quantify contact lens quality using product relevant metrics. This nondestructive, on-line optical inspection system can have significant impact not only on the process control and thereby yield of contact lenses, but also in manufacturing of layered materials in general, including polymers, plastics, and glass. Longer-term, the technology offers new paths for tissue imaging, guided surgery, and monitoring of eye disease.