Optos Plc is a leading provider of diagnostic devices for the eyecare professional. Since 2015, Optos became a part of Nikon, and today the company has offices worldwide in 4 continents. One of the key drivers for the global success of Optos has been its continuous investment in research and innovation, including through academic collaborations and doctorate programs. In some cases, this has led to later recruitment as well.
Research and innovation at Optos resulted in the ultra-widefield (UWF™), high-resolution optomap imaging technique. The ability to image 82% or 200° of the retina in a single snapshot facilitates early and accurate diagnoses, and is unparalleled to any other device on the worldwide retinal imaging market. Imaging of the retina at the back of the human eye is key to a timely diagnosis of diseases such as macular degeneration. Of growing importance here is optical coherence tomography (OCT), a technique that enables three-dimensional depth ‘sections’ of the retina. A major obstacle here is that aberrations blur the peripheral of the field-of-view; precluding the detection of some diseases in an early stage. This project aims to overcome this limitation.
The aim of this project is to develop a hybrid optical-digital imaging technique that is tolerant to the inherent optical imperfections in the eye and imaging optics. The project involves a balance between experiment (optical design, analysis, and implementation) and numerical processing using Matlab, Python, or C/C++. The first objective of this project is to overcome the aberrations introduced by the anterior segment of the human eye. A hybrid, optical-digital, approach will be investigated, aimed specifically at wide-field imaging. The second objective is to develop the first Hybrid Optical-Digital OCT system, exploiting the depth information to obtain sharper lateral resolution. The main challenge in this project is deriving the optimal phase-modulation for the hybrid imaging system. This will require accurate modelling of complex optical-digital system and a detailed analysis of different potential designs. A secondary challenge is to strike the optimal balance between light-efficiency and diffusion-suppression in the hybrid OCT system. Finally, with an eye on commercialisation, a method must be developed to compute spatially-variant deconvolutions in real time.
In addition to the ability to design and construct novel optical systems in the lab, this research project demands a solid understanding of light propagation as well as coherent and incoherent image formation. Prior to the construction of the hybrid optical-digital imaging instrument, the successful candidate will program rigorous computer simulations and software to process and analyse image data.
The development of the first hybrid optical-digital OCT device will enable high resolution over the entire field-of-view. Its development will also lead to an improved knowledge of birefringence in the retina and other optical properties of the human eye. The outcomes of this project directly translate to opportunities for commercialisation by Optos Plc.
The successful candidate should:
· hold, or be close to completing, a degree (ideally MSc) in physics, optics, computer science, or related discipline,
· have good communications skills, both verbally and written,
· be a fast learner, self-motivating, and able to organize one’s own time to meet deadlines,
· have a solid understanding of optical theory
· have demonstrable experience with experimental optics or programming physics simulations,
· be keen to develop the understanding and skills to simulate optical image formation and analyse data,
· demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate their work and that of other scientists,
· be able to work alone and as part of a team, to develop a novel imaging device in the lab,
· be able to follow instructions and guidelines in the laboratory and in general.
The ideal candidate would also:
- have excellent communications skills, both verbally and written,
- have demonstrable experience with both experimental optics and computational methods to simulate optical imaging systems,
- have a prior high-quality publication.
The successful candidate will be based at the premises of Optos Plc in Dunfermline, and conduct research within the research and development department of Optos. The project will be supported academically through the University of Dundee. While a student is not expected to spend extended periods of time at the University, some specific experiments may have to be conducted at the physics department in the School of Science and Engineering. Although all of Optos’ research it concentrated here in Scotland, it is a Nikon company with a worldwide customer base. This pairs an outstanding research environment with the experience of working within a global company.
The proposed project can be carried out with a certain degree of flexibility as long as a proper level of commitment and professionalism is provided by the candidate. Specific work arrangements can be discussed with potential candidates in order to meet specific personal needs.
Optos Plc is an Equal Opportunities Employer that values and is committed to diversity in its workforce. The University of Dundee has been awarded HR Excellence in Research and received an Athena SWAN award, reflecting its commitment to equal opportunities, family friendly policies, and creating an inclusive working environment.