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Technical post | fiber fabric for medical applications

Time : 2020-06-08 Hits : 14

Optical fiber (" optical fiber "for short) has been well known as an optical waveguide tool. Besides communication, what are the applications of optical fiber in the medical field?

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According to the different manufacturing materials, optical fiber is usually divided into inorganic fiber and organic fiber. Inorganic fiber includes glass fiber and quartz fiber, which are commonly used in communication, construction, aerospace and other fields. Organic fiber mainly refers to the polymer fiber made of high transparency organic polymer material (also known as "plastic fiber", referred to as "POF"), the softer texture gives it more extensive applications than inorganic fiber.

Fiber optic fabric is a kind of composite fabric product formed by combination of fiber optic and textile, which belongs to Smart Textiles. Fiber fiber fabrics generally use polymer fiber, so it has both the softness of textiles and the light conductivity of fiber. The application of optical fiber fabric covers communication, lighting, decoration, entertainment, medical treatment and other fields, among which the application in the medical field is becoming its important development direction. According to the different functions of optical fiber, optical fiber fabrics used in medical field can be subdivided into signal transmission fiber fabric, surface luminous fiber fabric and fiber sensing fabric.


1. Fiber fabric for signal transmission

Fiber optic fabric can be a part of wearable smart devices, which can assume the function of physical connection and signal transmission between functional devices. In 1996, JAYARAMAN et al. took the lead in the research on smart clothing. They used optical fiber as the signal transmission bus of Smart Shirt, connected the electronic devices embedded in the fabric with the electronic wires to form the "WearableMotherboard", and realized the human physiological signal monitoring in the non-interference environment for the first time, creating a new field of "wearable electronics".

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Smart clothing prototype developed by JAYARAMAN


2. Light-emitting fiber fabric


Optical fiber light-emitting fabric is a kind of optical fiber textile that can release the light signal of the light source to form the luminous effect by using the optical fiber's light conduction performance. It can be used in lighting, decoration, medical treatment and other fields. Medical optical fiber luminescent fabrics are mainly used as equipment for photodynamic therapy. Through different wavelength of light source modulation signal to obtain the desired light treatment, also can be used by proper optical fiber arrangement or lens device for different area, different light intensity distribution of shiny surface, meet the requirements of the treatment of a variety of disorders, such as the blue light treatment of neonatal jaundice, promote wound healing light treatment and keratosis, etc.

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It can be used as side luminous fabric for phototherapy and luminous effect


3. Sensing fiber fabric

Fiber sensing fabric is another type of application of fiber fiber fabric. Fiber is usually used as a sensor and added into the fabric as a textile material to form a part of the fabric. Fiber optic sensors, such as grating sensor, macro bend sensor and micro bend sensor, are commonly used to make sensing fabric.


(1) Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG), a typical representative of Grating sensor, has been used in aviation, aerospace, military and national defence, and biomedical as a kind of optical Fiber component to detect temperature, humidity, displacement, acceleration and other signals.

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Fiber optic wearable system

(2) The curvature radius of optical fiber bending is much larger than the diameter of optical fiber bending is called macro bending, and the additional loss caused by this is macro bending loss. The loss varies with the variation of external disturbances (temperature, pressure, refractive index, etc.). Using this principle to detect external interference information is called optical fiber macro bend sensor. At present, fiber optic macro bending sensing fabric is mostly used in the medical field to monitor human respiratory characteristics.

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Fiber optic macro bending sensing fabric with warp knitted structure


(3) Optical fiber micro-bending loss refers to the additional loss caused by the very small bending (micro-bending) of optical fiber axis. Similar to macro bending, optical fiber microbend sensor can also be developed by using the principle of optical fiber microbend loss. At present, optical fiber micro-bending sensing fabric is also applied in the medical field.

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