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By creating a new twist on fiber optic sensors, researchers in China have developed a smart, flexible photoacoustic imaging technique that may have potential applications in wearable devices, instrumentation and medical diagnostics.
Lead researcher Long Jin from the Institute of Photonics Technology at Jinan University in Guangzhou will present the new fiber laser-based ultrasound sensor at the OSA Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science APS/DLS conference, being held 16-20 Sept., 2018 in Washington, D.C. Jin will also present the results of a study using an in vivo photoacoustic microscope.
Presentation - Part - Advanced - Microscopy - Session
The presentation is part of the "Advanced Microscopy" session on Monday, 17 September.
Their new technique relies on optical fiber technology to provide new sensors for photoacoustic imaging. It uses fiber-optic ultrasound detection, exploiting the acoustic effects on laser pulses via the thermoelastic effect—temperature changes that occur as a result of the elastic strain.
Fiber - Sensors - Signals - Advantage - Sensitivity
"Conventional fiber optic sensors detect extremely weak signals by taking advantage of their high sensitivity via phase measurement," said Jin. These same sorts of sensors are used in military applications to detect low-frequency (kilohertz) acoustic waves. But it turns out that they don't work so well for ultrasound waves at the megahertz frequencies used for medical purposes because ultrasound waves typically propagate as spherical waves and have a very limited interaction length with optical fibers. The new sensors were specifically developed for medical imaging, Jin said, and can provide better sensitivity than the piezoelectric transducers in use today.
The group designed a special ultrasound sensor that's essentially a compact laser built within the 8-micron-diameter core of a single-mode optical fiber. "It has a typical length of only 8 millimeters," Jin said. "To build up the laser, two highly reflective grating mirrors are UV-written into the fiber core to provide optical feedback."
Fiber - Ytterbium - Erbium - Sufficient
This fiber then gets doped with ytterbium and erbium to provide sufficient...
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