" /> Imaging using the modes generated by a photonic lantern — Edinburgh Innovations

Imaging using the modes generated by a photonic lantern

A novel endoscopic imaging solution that uses the modes generated by a photonic lantern for diagnostic image reconstruction. An image of the object is constructed by projecting patterns generated by the lantern onto the object, and measuring the amount of light that is transmitted back up the fibre for each pattern.

Bile duct cancer is difficult to detect


  • Medical Devices – fibre optic based endoscopes


  • Proof of Principle prototype built and tested


  • A PCT patent application (Ref: PCT/GB2018/051214) was filed on 4 May 2018


  • Licensing 


A fundamental challenge associated with image transmission using optical fibres is that multimode fibres act to scramble the phase and amplitude information required to transmit a clear image from one end of a fibre to the other. One approach to bypass this issue is to use a “coherent fibre-bundle”. In this solution, only one or a few modes are supported at the desired wavelength, and the resolution of the obtained image is directly determined and limited by the size and spacing of individual cores forming the bundle. However, all current techniques using multimode fibres require some form of pre-calibration, and there is currently no method to obtain real-time calibration without access to the distal end of the fibre-bundle.


 High fill-factor, high-resolution (super-resolution) endomicroscopy in vivo and in situ is enabled by the projection of a set of stable intensity patterns from a photonic lantern. The patterns are insensitive to fibre movement and bending. The device can operate over a wide spectral bandwidth, and provides the possibility of multi-taper transition at the distal-end, so exploiting higher degrees of freedom to increase the number of patterns that can be generated. The lantern can also be used in a total internal reflection mode, allowing extreme sectioning of the sample.


  • High resolution imaging is achieved via a highly flexible single core fibre
  • High fill-factor, high resolution (super resolution) performance enables in-vivo and in-situ endomicroscopy, without requiring bulky fibre bundles or fragile distal scanning tips
  • The precise imaging of objects, through the projection of stable intensity patterns and insensitivity to fibre movement and bending


  • A. Birks, I. Gris-Sánchez, S. Yerolatsitis, S. G. Leon-Saval, and R. R. Thomson, “The photonic lantern,” Adv. Opt. Photon. 7, 107-167 (2015).

Please note, the header image is purely illustrative.


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