Optical fiber sensors for medical applications: Practical engineering considerations
The advantages of optical fibers as medical sensors are recognized world wide nowadays. Insensitivity to electromagnetic disturbances and relative small dimensions are the most well known properties. The advantages of fiber optic sensors are especially valuable within environments with high temperatures, aggressive or explosive chemicals, strong electromagnetic fields (e.g. MRI) or ionizing radiation. Also the intrinsic galvanic separation is beneficial for electrical safety as required by IEC 60601. Practical implementation of fiber optic sensor technology, however, is not trivial. TNO develops fiber optic (FO) sensors for industrial, aerospace, marine and medical applications. This article gives a short overview of optical fiber measurement techniques in general (e.g. spectroscopy and interferometry) and on Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) in particular. Fiber technology will be discussed in correspondence with typical examples of medical applications and the associated physical parameters. Each sensor system must be developed according to its intended application, as there exists no generic system. Therefore special care must be given to the design of the sensor head and opto-electronic read out unit (interrogator). Temperature and external vibrations are some of the major contributors to signal noise and drift which have to be considered by proper system design. In case of reusable instruments, like often used in minimal invasive surgery, this means that robustness and performance over many cleaning/sterilization cycles must be guaranteed. This requires special attention for many practical aspects of the sensor head construction. The corresponding design considerations will be discussed, illustrated by a force sensor developed for a haptic instrument. © 2009 Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
To reference this document use:
Fiber Bragg grating
Fiber optic sensor
4th European Conference of the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering, ECIFMBE 2008, 23-27 November, 2008, Antwerp, Belgium, Vol. 22, 2330-2334