NIST logo
Bookmark and Share

Optical medical imaging


The Optical Medical Imaging project was established to advance the application of optical imaging in surgical, clinical, and medical practices. Our goal is to promote measurement quality assurance through standard measurement methods and calibration artifacts.


Optical medical imaging technologies proliferate in academic research and yet very few translate into the clinic. Optical techniques have high spatial and spectral resolution, lends itself to portability, and inexpensive relative to conventional imaging modalities such as MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), CT (Computed Tomography), and PET-CT (Positron Emission Tomography – Computed Tomography). Unlike radiological and x-ray imaging, optical imaging does not expose patients to harmful ionizing radiation and can provide continuous, direct observation throughout protracted surgical procedures, and long-term patient monitoring for assessing treatment efficacy and progress. Current optical technologies being developed by the biomedical research community now have the capability for quantitative measurements of substances such as endogenous or exogenous disease markers and spatial dimensions which is important in guiding the clinician in making interventional decisions.


  • Advance SI-traceable calibration and characterization methods and standards to assess and improve instrument performance through the use of conventional and advanced optical tools
  • Provide the measurement science to facilitate technological assessments by instrument developers, government regulators and technology end users

Start Date:

October 1, 2010

End Date:

September 2014

Lead Organizational Unit:


Related Programs and Projects:


Maritoni Litorja