Researchers developed novel optical fiber probe that is thinner than a human hair, however, the fiber optic system includes 19 fiber sensors that allow measuring changes in pH and oxygen in the lungs. Thus, the flexible fiber optic probes ensure rapid and precise measurements that are ideal for the process of deep body sensing to within 0.02 pH units and 0.6 mg/L for pH and oxygen respectively. Moreover, it is still possible to install more sensors on the optical system.
Nowadays the majority of traditional technologies are invasive or simply not yet available. That is why the development of the tiny probes based on fiber optic sensing technology is highly important because it causes enormous expansion of in vivo sensing of today inaccessible areas of the human body. Consequently, these fiber optic probes promote the extension of the knowledge base about human body function in both health and disease.
The thing is that at the present time lung diseases are the primary cause of both disability and death. Therefore, the new optical fiber probes may help the researchers understand lung diseases and their treatment better. Moreover, this fiber optic sensing system was tested on an ovine lung model that had a supply of oxygen and nutrition liquid through ventilation and perfusion channels.
There are already numerous fiber optic sensors, whose main function is pH and oxygen sensing. Nevertheless, these fiber sensors have such disadvantages as an imprecise deposition, slower response times, and reduced precision and range of sensing. The developed multicore fiber optic probes offer robust sensing process, also they do not have any problems connected with photobleaching and variation of laser pump power.
It should be noted that these tiny fiber probes are 150 microns in diameter, with 19 cores about 10 microns across. Moreover, each fiber core is selectively connected to and carries out the measurement of fluorescence excited by a single proximal light source. Such fiber optic technology is responsible for the multiplex nature of the optical fiber sensing assembly across the multicore optical fiber.
Finally, the technique of the covalent pit-microsphere coupling offers the main advantage of almost instantaneous sensing and high stability to light. Also, more fiber optic sensors could be added to the multiplexed platform due to multicore fiber optic design. Little efforts are required for the self-directed microsphere-fiber assembly because of the simple, robust and reliable manufacturing process. Herewith, it is possible to adapt the number of fiber optic cores, the size of an optical fiber, and the microsphere size to the certain application.
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