CHARMING: Carbon nanomaterial enHanced opticAl fibRes for bioMedical Imaging and sensing

CHARMING will research into optical fibres equipped with nanocarbon to enable the detection of down to 10 cancer cells as well as to allow for imaging of proteins in a tumorous environment with a 10-fold better sensitivity compared to current systems. By delivering this technology, CHARMING aims to contribute to the advent of advanced optical fibre-based tools that empower early in-vivo cancer diagnosis.

Optical fibres are very well-known for their application in telecommunications. In the last decades, they have also become increasingly popular in biomedical applications, where they are used as very sensitive sensors to detect minute amounts of biological cells or as flexible light sources enabling in-vivo microscopy of biological tissue, and as such allow for early diagnosis of medical conditions.
At the same time, new so-called ‘nanocarbon’ materials with very particular characteristics have emerged, i.e. graphene and carbon nanotubes. The former is made of a sheet-like single layer of carbon atoms, whilst the latter consists of nanoscale hollow tubes rolled-up from the same carbon sheet. They both feature unique mechanical, electrical and optical properties.

CHARMING’s objective is to exploit these exceptional properties and to supplement them with the proven cutting-edge potential of optical fibre-based sensors and imaging systems to produce a novel class of devices for detecting and visualizing cancer cells with unprecedented sensitivity.