Available technologies

Fibre Optic Brillouin Spectroscopic Probe

Reference number: 11045

Proposed use

Our fibre optic device can detect changes in mechanical properties on a micron level in situ, in a non-contact and all optical manner. This allows the remote probing of micromechanics in important life sciences & industry applications at the tip of a fibre.

Problem addressed

Conventional mechanical testing relies on lab-based and often bulky equipment, where contact to the sample is essential to induce a measurable response. Although these techniques produce sufficient information, they are impractical for certain applications where the probing needs to be real-time and/or in situ e.g. bioprinting. Our unique device thus makes use of an optical interaction to remotely achieve this mechanical measurement using Brillouin spectroscopy, which is based on flexible fibre optics and hence facilitates detection in otherwise difficult to reach locations or analytes.

While the potential applications are numerous, one particular area of interest is the detection of microcracks in dentistry. Cracked Tooth Syndrome is documented to be difficult to detect early and there is currently no gold standard for its diagnosis. The resolution and flexibility of our technology thus meets this challenge perfectly.

Technology overview

Our technology consists of 3 main novel components – the hollow core fibre optics to enable a background-free flexible probe; the portable high-performance spectrometer to detect the intrinsically weak spectral signal in various settings; and also our spectral reconstruction software to allow for data acquisition in low SNR conditions, which are expected from realistic situations.

Benefits

  • Non-contact, non-destructive
  • Measures objective mechanical contrast – a valuable asset for dentistry application
  • Flexible, fibre-based
  • Lower cost & more robust than other portable devices in dentistry

Technology Readiness Level

Proof-of-concept studies have already been performed on various samples. A new ruggedised prototype is currently being developed to be used outside of a laboratory setting, thus placing our technology readiness level at 4.

Links to published papers

YuChen Xiang, Matthew R. Foreman, and Peter Török, "SNR enhancement in brillouin microspectroscopy using spectrum reconstruction," Biomed. Opt. Express 11, 1020-1031 (2020)

Inventor(s)

Dr. Yuchen Xiang, Prof. Peter Török, Dr. Irina Kabakova

Download datasheet

contact

Mei Chong

Industry Partnerships and Commercialisation Officer, Natural Sciences

m.chong@imperial.ac.uk

+44 (0)20 7594 9927

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