Purpose: Optical stimulation methods in development aim to provide high spatial selectivity of target tissue, overcoming a critical limitation of contemporary neural prostheses. The purpose of this study is to determine if tapered fibers are capable of delivering the minimum necessary power density 1W/mm2 within a 0.050mm spot size to induce focused infrared neural stimulation (INS). Materials: A numerical simulation program based on equations derived from Snell’s law was developed in MATLAB to predict the energy emitted from a tapered fiber coupled to a Capella laser (λ=1863nm, Lockheed Martin Aculight). Energy predictions were compared to emittance from a tapered fiber (core diameter = 200µm, tapered output face = 50µm, NA=0.22) to determine its accuracy. Energy measurements were made at 17.8, 41.6, 65.4, 89.3, and 113.1µJ output energy and at distances between 0-2 mm from the fiber-tip with a Coherent FieldMax Energy meter coupled to a detector with a 2.1 mm aperture. Results: Mean difference between the predicted and measured energy ranged from 4.3±1.9µJ (17.8µJ) to 16.3±11.3 µJ (113.1µJ). Minimum required power density within a 0.05 mm spot size was predicted to be achieved at 0 mm for all energies, at 2 mm for 41.6µJ, and at distances ≥ 1.0 mm for 17.8 µJ. Conclusion: A numerical simulation program was developed that accurately predicts within minimal error the emittance from a tapered fiber. The predicted results indicate feasibility of tapered optical fibers to provide a more efficient and selective means of delivering the minimum power density necessary to achieve INS.
Nelson Salas and Suhrud Rajguru, "Design of tapered optical fibers to achieve high spatial selectivity during infrared neural stimulation (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10488, Optical Fibers and Sensors for Medical Diagnostics and Treatment Applications XVIII, 1048815 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 29, 2018; Published: 14 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2288829.5751463291001.
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