Optical coherence tomography market to top $800M by 2012

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Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an imaging modality that is becoming the most successful optics technology to date in the field of disease diagnostics, according to "Optical Coherence Tomography--Technology, Markets, and Applications: 2008-2012," a new market research report from the publishers of BioOptics World.

The study said that the global market for OCT systems is currently around $200 million and growing at an annual rate of 34 percent. The growth is expected to continue at this pace for the next several years, with revenues topping $800 million by 2012, the report said.

While the first commercial application of OCT--ophthalmology--should remain the dominant application through 2012, new applications and products are emerging in cardiology, dentistry, cancer detection, glucose monitoring and dermatology. In particular, the report said that commercial activity for OCT in intravascular imaging has been gaining momentum over the past 12 months, and “this area looks to be the next growth market for OCT technologies.”

According to the report, much of this activity is being driven by a shift from time-domain to Fourier-domain OCT. “While similar in theory and design, the Fourier-domain systems offer twice the resolution and 50 to 100 times the image-acquisition speed. In addition, because the Fourier-domain technique is not protected under the original tightly held patents that have limited competition with time-domain systems, a number of companies are now developing or marketing Fourier-domain OCT products.”

Greg Smolka, author of the OCT report, said that in 2006, “a number of companies introduced 'spectral domain' systems to the ophthalmic market. These systems offer not only much faster image capture but, more important, much higher image accuracy. The new spectral-domain instruments generated a lot of buzz at the 2007 American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting, and many see them becoming the dominant imaging system in ophthalmology."

At least 18 companies are actively developing and/or manufacturing OCT systems, with many more supplying the key optical sources, detectors and related photonics components that enable the various OCT products and applications. “As this technology continues to penetrate new markets, opportunities exist for photonics companies in optical sources, detection and delivery systems,” Smolka said.