28 February 2013 Using a portable terahertz spectrometer to measure the optical properties of in vivo human skin
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Terahertz time-domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS) systems are capable of detecting small differences in water concentration levels in biological tissues. This feature makes THz devices excellent tools for the noninvasive assessment of skin; however, most conventional systems prove too cumbersome for limited-space environments. We previously demonstrated that a portable, compact THz spectrometer permitted measurement of porcine skin optical properties that were comparable to those collected with conventional systems. In order to move toward human use of this system, the goal for this study was to collect the optical properties, specifically the absorption coefficient (μa) and index of refraction (n), of human subjects in vivo. Spectra were collected from 0.1-2 THz, and measurements were made on the palm, ventral (inner) and dorsal (outer) forearm. Prior to each THz measurement, we used a multiprobe adapter system to measure each subject’s skin hydration levels, transepidermal waterloss (TEWL), skin color, and degree of melanin pigmentation. Our results suggest that the measured optical properties were wide-ranging, and varied considerably for skin tissues with different hydration and melanin levels. These data provide a novel framework for accurate human tissue measurements using THz spectrometers in limited-space environments.
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Ibtissam Echchgadda, Ibtissam Echchgadda, Jessica E. Grundt, Jessica E. Grundt, Melissa Tarango, Melissa Tarango, Bennett L. Ibey, Bennett L. Ibey, Thomas Tongue, Thomas Tongue, Min Liang, Min Liang, Hao Xin, Hao Xin, Gerald J. Wilmink, Gerald J. Wilmink, "Using a portable terahertz spectrometer to measure the optical properties of in vivo human skin", Proc. SPIE 8585, Terahertz and Ultrashort Electromagnetic Pulses for Biomedical Applications, 85850J (28 February 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2004944; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2004944

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