Doctorate in Applied and Engineering Physics  

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Thesis Proposal for the

Doctorate Program in Applied and Engineering Physics (DAEPHYS)

Starting in the Academic Year 2016/2017

Proposal 012

Title:Optical instrumentation towards the concentration of light in turbid media
Objectives (recommended length: 2000-3000 char):
The propagation of light in turbid media is limited by absorption and scattering phenomena. This has particularly constrained the application of laser radiation in biological tissues since attenuation paths are limited and the capability of focusing inside these media is highly limited beyond its surface.
In the last few years, different approaches are being researched among a few research teams in the world [1-3]. Basically, two optical-based approaches emerged: using photon-activated substances as a “guide” to wavefront correction and the use of Fourier Holography. However, and although the proof of concepts has been done, no application was developed in the promising field of cancer therapy.
In the first mentioned case, the idea is to use a fluorescence substance injected in the zone where the light is to be concentrated and use the emerging scattered signal to inverse the wavefront and thus allow reducing the influence of scattering. An alternative is to use quantum dots instead of fluorescent markers, which may allow working with just one wavelength.
A different approach is to use the concepts of Fourier-domain holography, in which the image obtained on a sensor records the fringes formed by the interference between the scattered light from the point being imaged and a reference light beam. Through numerical reconstruction it might be possible to shape the wavefront so emitted light is unaffected (or less affected) by scattering.
Since 2010, a FCUL team is working in phase shaping by developing their own algorithms to simulate phase-shaping and apply them to biological turbid media [4]. Meanwhile, FCT approved funding for a two years R&D project that ended in October 2015 with participation of FCUL, FCT/UNL, Lusófona, INL and FFUC. As result of this research a patent (nº 108994) was already filled and is under evaluation process.
In this context, and following the promising results obtained [5], the main objectives are:
1. Review the possible optical techniques to concentrate light in turbid media, defining pros and cons and their maturity and potential.
2. Identify, implement and test optical instrumentation to wavefront shaping in in vitro and in vivo conditions either to destroy tumors by hyperthermia or drug delivery.
3. Study, implement and apply metrology methods in order to validate the chosen method.
4. Define a road map for in-depth therapeutic destruction of tumors by concentrating light through wavefront shaping methodology or methodologies.

[1] I. Vellekoop, et al., Appl. Phys. Lett. 101, 081108, 2012.
[2] C.-L. Hsieh, et al., Opt. Exp. 18(12) 12283-12290, 2010.
[3] Y. Pu, D. Psaltis, App. Opt. 52(4) 567-578, 2013.
[4] R. Gomes, et al., Proc. of SPIE 8785 8785DE-1, 2013.
[5] C. Silva, et al., Therapeutic Delivery, 7 (5), 287-304, 2016.
Framework (recommended length: 500-2000 char):
Research in the field of light propagation in turbulent and turbid media has been developed at the Laboratory of Optics, Lasers and System for several years. This, in conjunction of long experience in light manipulation by optical means has converged with the interest of the Institute of Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering in cancer fight and lead to the creation of a cooperation in the field between these two groups of FCUL. The importance of this theme was recognized by the FCT which funded a project that involved several expertizes and institutions. So, this thesis proposal will complement and evolve the mentioned project and benefit from all the equipment, experience and contacts gathered by it.
Support in other fields of knowledge than the ones of this thesis, if needed to complement the research, will be found in the ongoing funded project.
Tasks (recommended length: 1000-3000 char):
1. Study the state of the art on the requirements for laser phototherapy and wavefront shaping methods. It should define a relevant scenario, including type of target (e.g. breast cancer), drug delivery systems (e.g. nanocapsules) and required photoactivation energy;

2. Definition of the experimental approach that will be followed in the project. Based on the previous analysis (task 1), it will be defined the method that will be explored taking in account: it’s potential in performing as required; it’s capability to be implemented and allow the development of an operational device; its novelty;

3. Definition and implementation of the optical instrumentation necessary attain the required light concentration. In this task, it will be projected, implemented and tested the experimental and monitoring setups, as well as and methodologies necessary for the experimental development. This includes the optical apparatus and the command and control of the phase-shaping devices, but also the development of the algorithms to create the wavefronts and the metrology to assess on the performance of the system;

4. Test the method in vitro, in real photoactivation conditions;

5. Disseminate the results (on conferences and publishing papers) besides writing of the thesis.
Research centre/lab or R&D unit hosting the thesis project:
Laboratorio de Óptica, Lasers e Sistemas, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Polo do Lumiar, Estrada do Passo do Lumiar, 22, Edifício D, 1º Andar, 1648-033 Lisboa, Portugal.
University to which the thesis project will be presented:
FC/UL - Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa
DAEPHYS Scientific Domain in which the project fits:
Optical technology
Relation of the project to the Scientific Domains of DAEPHYS:
The project will demonstrate the application of Optical Technologies to the development of Optical Instrumentation towards the creation of a wavefront shaping technique for concentrating light in turbid media. In particular, due to its relevance in the state of the art, it will be targeted the field of cancer therapy using laser radiation. Besides the development of specific Optical Instrumentation, complementary monitoring methods will have to be implemented and applied.
Candidate profile:
The candidate should master optics and physical engineering with interest in optical instrumentation. It should capable of manage theoretical formulations, but also be capable of plan, implement and interpret experimental work.
Does this proposal involve more than one University?:
Synergies between the two Universities participating in the proposal:
DAEPHYS strongly encourages the presentation of thesis projects in co-supervision by researchers from two of the universities participating in the Program. In this field, explain the benefits resulting from the proposed co-supervision and the involvement of elements from the two universities, e.g. building critical mass teams, profiting from existing infrastructures or advanced equipments, profiting from expert technical know-how, etc. If the proposal involves only one University, write n/a.
(recommended length: 500-1000 char)
: Both universities are already collaborating in the framework of a FCT-funded project, joining their expertise in optical technology, instrumentation and modelling the interaction of lasers with biological media.
This collaboration, involving the two supervisors of this thesis proposal, has allowed to share synergies in terms of equipment as well as modelling software. As an example, Zemax optical design software (expertise at FCUL) and Geant4/GAMOS Monte Carlo platform (expertise at FCUNL) are two simulation tools that can contribute for this thesis in a complementary way.
Does this proposal involve a company?:
Proposals involving a company:
DAEPHYS strongly encourages the presentation of thesis projects involving a company, preferably a high-tech company. These proposals have to: 1) be centered on a technological problem in which the partner company has been (or plan / would like to be) involved; 2) have a co-supervisor on the enterprise; 3) include part of the project to be carried out in the company.
(recommended length: 500-1000 char)



Name:João Miguel Pinto Coelho
Institution:Laboratório de Óptica, Lasers e Sistemas, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa
link to CV or indication of ORCID ID:



Name:Pedro Manuel Cardoso Vieira
Institution:Laboratório de Instrumentação, Biomédica e Física (LIBPHYS), Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia - Universidade Nova de Lisboa
link to CV or indication of ORCID ID:


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