Optical coherence tomography

Non-invasive imaging for biomedicine

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive imaging technique for the tomographic examination of transparent and semi-transparent materials. The functional principle of OCT is like to that of ultrasound imaging, both methods are based on reflection. In contrast to ultrasound imaging, OCT works with light and not with sound waves. It provides depth-resolved sectional images as well as volumetric images with a penetration depth of several millimetres and a resolution in the single-digit micrometer range - about ten times better than ultrasound.

Organic tissue, such as tumour tissue, can be examined with OCT at a very early stage of the disease, either intraoperatively or in vitro. OCT is already used clinically in ophthalmology and cardiovascular diagnostics.

Together with partners from a wide variety of medical disciplines and with companies from the medical technology sector, we design solution scenarios for OCT sensors for use on patients

In addition to building user interfaces, the Fraunhofer IPT develops customized OCT systems in the following modes:

All systems are controlled by a uniform software of the Fraunhofer IPT. The Fraunhofer IPT is also active in the field of standardization for optical coherence tomography in the VDI/VDE Society for Measurement and Automation Technology.

Our services

  • Development of individual SD and SS-OCT systems
  • Development and construction of non-invasive sensors
  • Implementation of individual signal and image processing algorithms
  • Systems integration
  • Automation of sensor systems
  • Implementation of preclinical feasibility studies



OCT is the gold standard in ophthalmology for the diagnosis of retinal and corneal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or glaucoma.

Tumour diagnostics

OCT can dissolve the tissue morphology of tumour and normal tissue and assist the surgeon in precise resection during surgery.

Tissue Engineering

OCT is suitable for quality assurance in the production of tissue because it can be used non-invasively for monitoring cell growth and defect detection.



Innovations-Hub FOMed

The "Research Alliance OCT for Medicine" is a national innovation network for the development of new medical applications of OCT.


Research Alliance

Establishment of a research presence in Japan to research new medical applications of OCT.