Smart medical catheters face a connectivity challenge. An example is found in ultrasound imaging where the supply of power at the distal end and the signal transmission requires many thin and fragile wires in order to keep the catheter thin and flexible and this leads to a relatively high cost of production. We have built a fully functional benchtop demonstrator that is immediately scalable to catheter dimensions, in which all electrical wires are replaced by just two optical fibers. We show signal transfer of synthetic aperture ultrasound images as well as photovoltaic conversion to supply all electronics. The absence of conductors provides excellent galvanic isolation as well as RF and MRI compatibility and the simple design utilizing off the shelf components holds a promise of cost effectiveness all of which may help translation of these advanced devices into the clinic.
We show photovoltaic conversion of 405 nm light to 45 V and 1.8 V by two blue LEDs as well as 200 MHz broad-band signal transfer using modulated 850 nm VCSEL light. Synthetic aperture ultrasound images are acquired at a frequency of 12 MHz with a collapse-mode capacitive-micromachined ultrasonic transducer. Bandwidth, noise level and dynamic range are nearly identical as shown in comparison of the images acquired with the optical link and its electrical equivalent. In conclusion, we have successfully demonstrated low-cost and scalable optical signal and power transmission for an ultrasound imaging system enjoying intrinsic RF / MRI compatibility and galvanic isolation.
Martin Pekar and Martin B. van der Mark, "Ultrasound imaging using all-optical power and signal transfer in catheters (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10054, Advanced Biomedical and Clinical Diagnostic and Surgical Guidance Systems XV, 100540W (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 31, 2017; Published: 18 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2252299.5371877812001.
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