The International Workshop on Nanocarbon Photonics and Optoelectronics (NPO2018) organized by the University of Eastern Finland took place on 6-11 August 2018 in Savonlinna, Finland. The NPO2018 was devoted to advances in the field of nanocarbon photonics and optoelectronics. Close to one hundred scientists from around the globe participated.

Photonics Finland was invited to introduce the MIRACLE Project as an example of applied photonics research and was represented by Dr. Slava Vanyukov who gave both oral and poster presentations about the project.

During NPO2018, the attendees were familiarized with the need for the development of the MIRACLE device which is intended for early diagnosis of degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis (OA). OA affects 242 million people globally and is highly prevalent in Europe, with an estimated incidence of 19.7-42.3% in the elderly population (Vos T, et al. (2015)). Currently, the surgeon’s decision is based on visual inspection and manual probing of the cartilage tissue, which is highly subjective and of poor reproducibility.

The MIRACLE device will deliver the solution by providing comprehensive information on the cartilage tissue. To accomplish this the Miracle device will be based on three key innovative photonics elements that will be developed during the project. Specifically, a quantum cascade laser array tailored for biodiagnostics, an on-chip beam combiner for efficient radiation coupling, and a mid-infrared sensing probe for imaging.

These three photonics components will be integrated within a single device capable of evaluating the biochemical composition of cartilage, thereby enabling an early diagnosis of OA and other joint diseases. The aforementioned photonics components were the focus of the discussions.