Optical fibers have the potential to be used in many biomedical applications. Such fibers have been used in medical devices since the 1960s when fiber optic bundles were successfully pioneered for both illumination and imaging through endoscopes. Optical fiber imaging tools were widely accepted for invasive surgery since the 1980s. The minimally invasive surgery promises decreased pain and trauma during operations, faster recovery, and a reduced risk of infection. Nowadays special fiber optic products also are used as intelligent sensors to monitor physiology parameters such as temperature, pressure, oxygen concentration, and applied force.
Fiber optic sensors offer many advantages in comparison with conventional electronic sensors in medical sensing: small size, immunity to electromagnetic interference (EMI), enhanced sensitivity, robustness, and geometrical versatility. Additionally, they are free from electrical parts or conductors in the sensor area. The unique properties of fiber optic products and based on the fiber optic equipment have enabled complicated procedures in cardiovascular examiners, angiology, gastroenterology, ophthalmology, oncology. neurology. dermatology, and dentistry. Novel specialty fiber types are also opening up entirely new sensing concepts. In addition to this, endoscopes represent the largest end-use market for medical fiber optics, supported by the growing popularity of minimally invasive surgeries. Minimization of medical instruments is a key trend encouraging the use of small and efficient optical fibers.
The integration of fiber optic applications in medical devices is a difficult task because it involves solving such problems as design and selection of fiber, packaging material, cost-effective manufacturing, quality control, and traceable record keeping.
In the last two decades, a variety of fiber optic products have been developed. However, it should be noted, point sensors based on Fabry-Perot interferometers and fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) are probably the most deployed sensors in medical applications.
Fiber optic products and based on the fiber optic sensors are safe, valuable, highly stable, biocompatible tools for health-monitoring systems and they are amenable to sterilization and autoclaving. By modifying properties such as numerical aperture, core and cladding diameters, and coating material, the fibers can be adapted to different applications.
Why do fiber optic products find so many biomedical uses? Firstly, optical fibers, which used in medical sensors, have a thin polyimide coating to provide a small section and suitability for different kinds of sterilization processes. The temperature resistance of polyimide is difficult to match with other polymer materials. Secondly, the highly desirable parameter of the optical fiber for invasive surgery is tolerance to tight bonds. This allows for movement of the catheter, which winds through veins and arteries, and around organs and bones, on its way to an application area.
Summing up all of the above, the biomedical sensing market represents a lucrative and growing opportunity for fiber optic sensors, particularly for large volumes of disposable probes. The demand for move patient monitoring devices combines with a trend toward minimally invasive surgery, which itself requires a variety of small size that can be incorporated into catheters and endoscopes. There is also an opportunity for fiber optic sensors as EMI-compatible sensors to monitor vital signs during the use of MRI (and related techniques), as well as RF treatments.
Optromix is a fast-growing vendor of fiber Bragg grating (FBG) products line: fiber Bragg grating sensors, FBG interrogators, and multiplexers, Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) systems. We create and supply a broad variety of top-notch fiber optic solutions for the monitoring of various facilities all over the world.
If you are interested in Optromix FBG sensors or other fiber optic products, please contact us at email@example.com