Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies - ICT - CARDIS


Early identification of individuals at risk for Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) allows early intervention to halt or reverse the pathological process. This is the driver of Medtronic and partners to develop a mobile, low-cost, non-invasive, point-of-care screening device for CVD.

Early identification of increaded arterial stiffness (pulse wave velocity; PWV), arterial stenosis and cardiac contraction abnormalities can be used to improve CVD risk classification. However, no tools are available today to screen a large population under primary care for these indicators, and individuals that are considered to be at low or moderate risk are too often undiagnosed.

CARDISOver the past few years, Ghent University and Queen Mary University of London and others have gathered evidence that mechanical vibrations induced by cardiovascular dynamics actually propagate up to skin level, where they can be picked up using laser vibrometry. This is not surprising, given the important role of auscultation (based on acoustic waves travelling in the body) in primary care medicine.

A laser Doppler vibrometer (LDV) is an instrument that is used to make non-contact vibration measurements of a surface. The laser beam from the LDV is directed at the surface of interest (in our case the skin overlying the artery under investigation), and the vibration amplitude and frequency are extracted from the Doppler shift of the reflected laser beam frequency due to the motion of the surface. The output of an LDV is generally a continuous analog voltage that is directly proportional to the target velocity component along the direction of the laser beam.

Preliminary data suggest that LDV can lead to an improved screening and assessment of cardiovascular risk by making it possible to (a) measure aortic and local PWV; (b) detect vibrations induced by disturbed  blood flow in stenosed arteries; (c) detect cardiac contraction abnormalities via measurements on the chest.


The overall objective of CARDIS is to investigate and demonstrate the concept of a mobile, low-cost device based on a silicon photonics integrated laser vibrometer and validate the concept for the screening of arterial stiffness, detection of stenosis and heart failure.

  • Objective 1:  Investigate, design and fabricate optical subsystems and components:
    - A  Photonic Integrated Chip with a multi-branch laser interferometer with integrated photo detectors and input port for an external micro-optical laser assembly
    - A micro-optical laser assembly
    - A micro-optical lens system
  • Objective 2: Integrate the subsystems and build a multi-beam interferometric laser vibrometer
  • Objective 3: Develop a process flow scalable to high volumes for all sub-systems and their integration steps
  • Objective 4: Investigate and develop the biomechanical model to translate optical signals related to skin-level vibrations into underlying CVD physiological events
  • Objective 5: Validate the system in a clinical setting

    Role of Ghent University

    Ghent University is involved at two levels:

    • Design of silicon photonics chips (in collaboration with imec) – prof. Roel Baets and Dr. Danaë Delbeke
    • Biomechanical in-vitro and in-silico assessment of LDV for cardiovascular screening and early diagnosis – prof. Patrick Segers



    Prof. Patrick Segers
    Department of Electronics and Information Systems, IBiTech-bioMMeda
    Phone number: +3293323466