Fiber Optics Principles and Applications in Medical Industry

Fiber Optics Principles and Applications in Medical Industry

The field of fiber optic sensors (FOS) has progressed significantly in the last 25 years following the advancements made inside the telecommunication industry in the mid-1980s. This transformation has supported the utility and demand for optical fiber sensors in different applications such as industrial, consumer, aerospace, and medical applications.

This has increased the production of various optical fibers in the industrial as well as medical applications including Fiber Bragg Gratings (FBG), and External Fiber Fabry-Perot interferometer (EFPI) which are most commonly in use.

So what is fiber optic made up of?

Fiber optic consist of fine strands of glass or plastic, single or bundle of fibers used for transmitting radiation from one component to another in order to observe and monitor objects or also for illumination of objects.


Advantages of Fibre Optic Sensors

Fiber-optic sensors can be intrinsic or extrinsic. In an intrinsic sensor, the light never leaves the fiber and the parameter of interest affects a property of the light propagating through the fiber by acting directly on the fiber itself. In an extrinsic sensor, the perturbation acts on a transducer and the optical fiber simply transmit light to and from the sensing location.



The advantages of fiber optic cables in contradistinction to traditional electrical ones like catheters, guidewires, and MEMS; make them highly useful in medical applications. A variety of physical properties of the substance like temperature, vibration, strain, radiation, pressure, etc can be monitored by fiber optic cables. Important characteristics of optical fiber cables, like small size allow easy insertion into the tissues whereas their non-galvanic nature makes them naturally electrical safe.


Fiber optics utilized in sensing equipment are additionally very stable and biocompatible which can be easily cleaned and autoclaved. Another major fiber optic sensor advantage is that it has a unique characteristic of acting as a sensor in itself. Without utilizing electrical parts or transmitters, it can send signals to monitoring equipment for measurements. Fiber optic cable is free from electrical hazards in the sensing areas. Fiber optic sensors in medical applications have proven to be perfect for use in a number of practices in the medical industry, including angiology, cardiovascular tests, ophthalmology, and dentistry.

As a dormant material, the glass fiber opposes numerous synthetic compounds, so it's appropriate for use in in-vitro and in-vivo applications. Since operation theaters have various types of equipment producing hazardous electromagnetic interferences (EMI), the utilization of fiber optic light sensor is ideal and reliable for surgeries and other medical procedures in such applications.


Optical Fibers used in Medical Field

Fiber optic cables as components of sensor equipment make them highly compelling in medical applications that may require ultra-sensitive detection of lower signals in areas that are difficult to reach. Furthermore, their small size, the ability of multiplexing, chemical inertness, and resistance to electromagnetic fields give them a strategic advantage over traditional sensors.


Four types of sensors used in biomedical applications are physical, imaging, chemical, and biological.


Physical sensors measure various physiological parameters, like blood pressure, muscle displacement, body temperature, dead tissues, etc.


Whereas advanced devices used for Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and photo acoustic imaging where internal scans and visualization can be made non-intrusively are equiped with Imaging sensors for precise temperature monitoring.


Chemical sensors depend on fluorescence, spectroscopic, and indicator techniques to locate and measure specific chemical compounds and metabolic factors like pH, blood oxygen, or glucose level. They distinguish explicit chemical species for analytic purposes, as well as monitor the body's chemical reactions and movement.

Biological sensors, in general, are more complex boggling and depend on biologic recognition reactions such as enzyme-substrate, antigen-antibody, or ligand-receptor to recognize and evaluate explicit biochemical particles of intrigue.

Applications of Optical Fiber in the Medical Field

Fiber Optic sensors can be grouped in different areas of the medical field including In-vitro (examination of gases, bodily fluids or tissue tests), In-vivo, non-intrusively (optrodes placed on the skin), In-vivo, invasively (catheters or endoscopic instruments), and in hazardous conditions where conventional equipment are not feasible, such as MRI.



The most notable and pervasive applications of fiber optics in medicine are in the imaging and illumination components of endoscopes. Internal organs and tissues which are accessible only through natural openings or transcutaneously can be easily monitored by the optical fibers made up of step-index fibers and grade-index imaging rods.

Other advantages of fiber optics in medication incorporate remote spectrophotometry, pressure and position sensing, or scintillation counting.


Interested in Fiber Optic Solutions

Rugged Monitoring (RM) has deep expertise in fiber optic sensing technology for various industries including E-Mobility, Medical, Microwave, Cannabis, etc. However, in medical applications, Rugged Monitoring developed fiber optic sensors, and monitors are widely used for temperature monitoring and testing during Ablation procedures, MRI/CT/PET scanning, Medical Implantable, Catheterization, and Hyperthermia research. Contact us for custom solutions Rugged Monitoring.

Published by ruggedmonitoring

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