Single-Course English 5 ECTS

Biomedical optics

Overall Course Objectives

The interest in applications of coherent light and optical sensing in life science and biomedicine has been increasing the past years. This is partly due to the development of new laser systems, partly the development in optical systems and finally advances in precise and non-invasive diagnostics and analysis methods. The objectives of the course are divided into three areas:
1) to identify key parameters for light sources for medical diagnostics and treatment,
2) to understand and analyse processes of light-tissue interactions, and
3) to select the appropriate combination of light sources and light tissue interactions in the
design of biomedical imaging and life science applications and analyse its performance.

See course description in Danish

Learning Objectives

  • describe basic optical principles like coherence, interference and diffraction, and determine imaging properties of simple rays in spherical lenses and mirrors.
  • describe the basics of laser technology and photonic systems, including nonlinear optical effects.
  • explain different light-tissue interactions, e.g.: Photochemical, thermal, photo induced plasma and photo ablation, and be able to relate these interactions to the characteristics of the light source.
  • illustrate the different optical properties of tissue and cells (scattering and absorption) and the wavelength dependencies of these processes, and their function as contrast mechanism.
  • illustrate the principle of transport theory and use of analytical and numerical solutions, including diffusion theory and Monte Carlo simulations.
  • evaluate and compare imaging and spectroscopic techniques such as Optical Coherence Tomography, Photo-Acoustic Tomography, fluorescence, multi-photon microscopy, and Raman spectroscopy.
  • argue the applicability of a specific optically based diagnostic system, or combination of systems, to a given biomedical or life science problem.
  • assess scientific papers within the areas of the course, evaluate the presented choice of modalities, and propose alternative approaches.

Course Content

The lectures will cover the life science, and medical background for applications of light for treatment and diagnosis, particularly in human tissue. An exemplary organ is the eye: here the wavelength dependent optical properties like absorption, light scattering and fluorescence of the eye facilitate optical diagnostics and treatment of critical organs like the cornea, lens and retina by optical methods. Furthermore, the optical properties of lasers, different laser systems and their potential for applications in biomedicine and life science will be elaborated. An integral part of the course is that students present scientific papers in journal clubs. Throughout the course, practical examples and demonstrations will be used whenever possible.

Recommended prerequisites

10036, Basic courses in mathematics and physics

Teaching Method

Lectures and journal clubs



Lecturers from DTU Fotonik, and a number of invited external lectures. If possible, a study trip to the Department of Ophthalmology at Glostrup Hospital will be arranged.

See course in the course database.





13 weeks


Health Tech


DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 22511
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 35
Semester end Week 48
Days Tues 13-17

7.500,00 DKK