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Windows of Opportunity

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Our cover story considers the progress and prospects of optical coherence tomography. There are promising new uses of OCT, a panel of three industry experts tells us. One, as our striking cover image shows, is OCT angiography. OCT-A is just attracting the clinical interest that is the necessary precursor to wider adoption. But there are serious obstacles to this and other OCT techniques moving beyond the domain of research hospitals and academia.

Marcia StamellOne roadblock involves data. Outside of ophthalmology, there typically isn’t enough information about the efficacy of new OCT applications. Large-scale randomized clinical studies can show how and when OCT improves outcomes for patients. But these investigations require smaller preliminary efforts to help shape the research questions, plenty of planning and, above all, a lot money. To get them off the ground would require widespread commitment by the OCT community. But it’s a commitment that holds the promise of wider adoption of these technologies that can improve medical outcomes. For more about OCT, see “Where Does OCT Go From Here?” (read article).

Our Biopinion this month also looks to the future. In “Research the Key to a Rich, Meaningful Undergraduate Photonics Education,” UCLA’s Aydogan Ozcan, a member of BioPhotonics advisory board, proposes an expansion of undergraduate research opportunities. It’s a step that he says would improve the overall quality of undergraduate optics education and ultimately lead to an increase in the number of people in optics- and photonics-related graduate programs, research labs and R&D efforts.

Elsewhere in the magazine:

• Researcher Juanita Anders of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences writes about recent advances in photobiomodulation therapy, or PMBT. This form of light therapy promises effective treatments for skin wounds, pain, brain injuries and even depression. “Photobiomodulation Therapy Comes of Age” (read article).

• Michael Bucci of Aavid Thermacore discusses thermal management in biophotonic devices. There are a variety of solutions to thermal challenges, he writes, that can lower energy consumption, improve reliability and extend operational life. “Heat Management Improves Performance” (read article).

• Dieter Bingemann of Ocean Optics brings biophotonics out in the field, literally. “Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Probes Food Freshness,” (read article), explores critical advances that allow nondestructive monitoring of agricultural products. This use of spectroscopy and chemometrics is good for farmers. It can be good for the rest of us, too, a reason that an apple you eat may be sweeter, crisper and more nutritious, too.

• And don’t miss this issue’s special Spectroscopy Sourcebook.

Mar 2017
EditorialMarcia StamellBiophotonics

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