9. Medical Applications 193
Detector-optics
Source
Signal
Detector
Coupling optics
Light guide
Reference detector
Object
Light
interacts
with object
Optics for illuminating and
detecting light from object
Figure 9.5 Configuration of a fiber optic sensor system.
microtube, tilted surface, moving mechanical part, etc.) [15]. Microbial
biosensors may also incorporate transducers which convert biochemical
signals into electrical or optical signals. Some sensors place immobilized
micro-organisms close to a thermistor which measures the metabolic heat
they produce; calorimetry may be applied to measure a large variety of
substances based on thermal reactions such as this. Some sensors work in
conjunction with microchips. For example, Oak Ridge National Labora-
tory has developed an infrared microspectrometer. It can be used for blood
chemistry analysis, gasoline octane analysis, environmental monitoring,
industrial process control, aircraft corrosion monitoring, and detection of
chemical warfare agents. It uses a light source to excite chemicals in
its environment, then channels the emitted light into an optical fiber for
external analysis. The measured wavelengths are fed into a microchip,
which identifies and determines the concentrations of chemicals in a sam-
ple. These miniaturized devices can be as accurate as standard laboratory
procedure, with a large number of additional applications [17]. Finally,
we should note that there are many other types of biosensors that use
microchips, or illuminate using fluorescence, which do not require optical
fibers.
References
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194 Fiber Optic Essentials
[4] Dennis C. Leiner (2002) Miniature Optics in the Hospital Operating Room, Light-
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[5] Johnson, B.A. (1999) “Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: Screening for Colorectal Cancer”,
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[15] “Breakthrough Treatment for Enlarged Prostate”, Surgical Center of Central Florida,
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review/rev29_3/text/biosens.htm; also, see http://www.microfab.com/technology/
biomedical/biomed.html.

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