Opto-acoustic imaging (OAI) shows particular promise for in-vivo biomedical diagnostics. Its applications include cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and urogenital systems imaging. Opto-acoustic endoscopy (OAE) allows the imaging of body parts through cavities permitting entry. The critical parameter is the physical size of the device, allowing compatibility with current technology, while governing flexibility of the distal end of the endoscope based on the needs of the sensor. Polymer optical fibre (POF) presents a novel approach for endoscopic applications and has been positively discussed and compared in existing publications. A great advantage can be obtained for endoscopy due to a small size and array potential to provide discrete imaging speed improvements. Optical fibre exhibits numerous advantages over conventional piezo-electric transducers, such as immunity from electromagnetic interference and a higher resolution at small sizes. Furthermore, micro structured polymer optical fibres offer over 12 times the sensitivity of silica fibre. We present a polymer fibre Bragg grating ultrasound detector with a core diameter of 125 microns. We discuss the ultrasonic signals received and draw conclusions on the opportunities and challenges of applying this technology in biomedical applications.

© 2015 SPIE

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