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Hign Performance MEMS Deformable Mirror for Adaptive Optics Retinal Imaging

Award Information

Department of Health and Human Services
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2007 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Iris AO, Inc.
2680 Bancroft Way Berkeley, CA 94704-1717
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2007
Title: Hign Performance MEMS Deformable Mirror for Adaptive Optics Retinal Imaging
Agency: HHS
Contract: 2R44EY015381-02A1
Award Amount: $754,559.00


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Iris AO is developing exciting technologies that enable in vivo cellular-level retinal imaging. The cutting-edge adaptive-optics (AO) systems Iris AO develops increases the axial and transverse resolution of retinal ima ges 5 fold. AO is used to correct for the optical aberrations in the eye that drastically reduce the resolution of conventional retinal images. Deformable mirrors (DM), the enabling component in AO systems, correct aberration by changing shape to compensat e for the aberrations. This Phase II SBIR is dedicated to building advanced Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) DMs for clinical retinal-imaging systems. Imaging systems with AO exist in but a few cutting edge research laboratories throughout the world. In all of these systems, the most limiting aspect is the DM. These systems use DMs originally designed for telescopes or other applications because these are all that are available. This SBIR will bring DMs specifically designed for retinal imaging into th e hands of researchers and then into clinical retinal imaging systems. Developing clinical-ready DMs will bring the benefits of these advanced imaging techniques to the general population. Iris AO's comprehensive expertise from DM manufacturing to building AO retinal-imaging systems for daily use in studying retinal diseases at the cellular-level will drive a revolution in advanced imaging techniques. By bringing AO out of the lab and into the clinical setting, this technology will have profound benefits. I ris AO's goals parallel the NEI mission of gaining a better understanding of visual function and fighting debilitating eye diseases. Iris AO engineers have helped pioneer studies in early disease detection by looking at the retina with the unprecedented re solution afforded by AO. This proposal directly meets objectives laid out in the NEI National Plan by developing a critical component in AO systems that will be used in AO-equipped SLO and OCT systems. This research will develop the DM over two iterations, refining the manufacturing each step of the way. Finite element analysis, performance testing, and failure studies will feed into the design to create robust mirrors. The development will focus on clinically valuable mirrors by meeting the required correc tion performance and solving practical issues necessary to bring AO into the clinical setting. After the mirror is built and tested in an AO test bed, it will be integrated into an existing AO retinal imaging system to image photoreceptors. This exciting h igh-performance technology will enable in vivo imaging of cellular structure to be done on the general populace instead of hand-picked research subjects as is the practice today. Research from this SBIR will enable a powerful new tool for early retinal dis ease detection and better understanding of visual function. The resulting technology puts the ability to observe into the retina at the cellular level into the hands of clinicians, thereby allowing them to see the start of a retinal disease before debilita ting damage has been done.

Principal Investigator:

Michael A. Helmbrecht

Business Contact:

Michael Helmbrecht
Small Business Information at Submission:


EIN/Tax ID: 043693091
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No