Mid-infrared arthroscopy innovative imaging system for real-time clinical in depth examination and diagnosis of degenerative joint diseases


Project description

MIRACLE will take towards commercialization the first mid-infrared (MIR) arthroscopy probe for in-depth evaluation of articular cartilage enabling early diagnosis of degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis (OA). The proposed device is intended for use during a minimally invasive surgery (arthroscopy). Currently, the surgeon’s decision-making is based on visual inspection and manual probing of the cartilage tissue which is highly subjective and of poor repeatability. Untreated or not-correctly treated joint injury will most likely progress towards OA, which will lead to joint pain, movement limitation, joint failure, and ultimately disability and joint replacement.

OA constitutes a major challenge for the health systems and affects 242 million people globally. Moreover, OA is highly prevalent in Europe with an estimated 19.7-42.3% in the elderly population. MIRACLE concept is to access the biochemical on articular cartilage, which precedes OA. The feasibility of this approach as a diagnostic method has been demonstrated by MIRACLE consortium (TRL4). MIRACLE has also prototyped a MIR-probe with potential use for diagnostics (TRL4).

By technology development reaching TRL 6-7, MIRACLE will bring to the arthroscopy market the first MIR-based probe providing an unique, accurate and quantitative diagnostic tool for the orthopedic surgeon. This will be achieved combining three novel photonics components:

(i) a quantum cascade laser array tailored to biodiagnostics,

(ii) an on-chip beam combiner for efficient radiation coupling, and

(iii) MIR sensing probe for imaging.

These components will be integrated in a medical device to be placed in the arthroscopy market (valued at $4 billion in 2015). In addition to add value to the European medical equipment industry, MIRACLE strives towards cost reduction of OA patients (currently costs/patient/year €10,452) contributing to more affordable public health care and promoting wellbeing in the European ageing population.


This project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 780598. The project is an initiative of the Photonics Public Private Partnership.


Project coordinator

University of Oulu


Ulm University, Germany
University of Eastern Finland, Finland
Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
Kuopio University Hospital, Finland
Utrecht University, Netherlands
nanoplus Nanosystems and Technologies GmbH, Germany
OptoPrecision, Germany
Innovacio | Recerca Industrial | Sostenible SL, Spain
art photonics GmbH, Germany
Instituto Nacional de Engenharia Biomédica, Portugal
Asociación Española de Normalización, Spain
Photonics Finland, Finland
Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Portugal

Research groups

  • Microelectronics Research Unit
  • Research Unit of Medical Imaging
  • Research Unit of Medical Imaging Physics and Technology


Gabriela Lorite Yrjänä

Gabriela S. Lorite

Academy Research Fellow/ Adjunct Professor
Lauriane Janssen

Lauriane Janssen

Post-doctoral Researcher
Simo Saarakkala

Simo Saarakkala

Professor, ERC Grantee