Available Technologies

Browse Penn-owned technologies available for licensing.

A smart cryostat or “Smart Cut”

A cryostat with optical imaging capabilities to detect cancerous tissue using near-infrared (NIR) imaging and artificial intelligence software.


During surgery, biopsies are taken for pathologists to examine and answer the following questions: (a) did the surgery locate the tumor? (b) is the margin of the tumor removal site tumor free ? and (c) what kind of tumor is it?

After biopsy, the frozen specimens go to a technician who cuts the specimens and places sections onto microscope slides. Then, the pathologist reviews each and all slides to make a diagnosis.

The technician may select a section of tissue that misses the disease. Sampling error resulting in incorrect diagnosis could change the course of the operation for the patient, negatively affecting the quality and cost of care.


The technology described is a smart cryostat device for more accurate detection of cancerous tissue during the sectioning process reassuring pathologists against sampling error, and reducing time to diagnosis. Artificial-intelligence (AI)-based software expedites specimen trimming and automates detection of cancerous tissue with higher accuracy. The smart cryostat also includes an optical dye that is incorporated to the specimen and targets tumors, which helps the smart cryostat to detect cancerous tissue through NIR imaging.  Future work includes radionucleotide probes.


  • Real time detection reduces the technician’s labor time and uncertainty in finding the tumor cells in a small biopsy
  • Fluorescence detection limits the number of slides mounted and stained to include only slides with confirmed “sick” tissue


  • Rapid Detection of cancerous tissue in biopsied tissues
  • This device and technology can extend beyond cancer imaging, such as imaging of inflammatory or infectious processes

Optical biopsy showing tumors with near infra-red (NIR) imaging. The strong fluorescent signal suggests a diagnosis of carcinoma, and allows for rapid, easily identifiable localization of the cancerous tissue for the pathologist to examine.

Stage of Development: 

  • Prototype including light source, monitor, optical detector/camera has been developed
  • Detection of cancerous tissue in human samples mounted and sectioned using a fluorescence-based approach has been developed

Intellectual Property: 

Patent application pending

Desired Partnerships: 

  • License
  • Co-development

Patent Information:


Docket # 19-9045

For Information, Contact:

Viviane Martin
University of Pennsylvania