Researchers at University of Bath developed a new type of optical fibers that is used for making miniature endoscopes.
Researchers designed a new type of air-filled optical fiber bundle that has potential to improve the endoscopes used for medical procedure. Endoscopes are mainly used for minimally invasive surgeries or bronchoscopies. The new technology developed will help features such as take images using infrared wavelengths, which will help in diagnostic procedures better than the currently available endoscopes offers.
Endoscopes work with the help of optical fibers that transmits images from the body, taking light through the fiber. The researchers developed a new type of fibers using an array of glass cores surrounded by hollow glass capillaries filled with air instead of the cores and claddings. The new fibers are capable to create endoscopes that are smaller and higher in resolutions than the regular endoscopes. The findings were published in the journal Optics Letters on October 2018.
The new endoscopes providing high resolutions will be used by clinicians for operating sensitive organs such as brain, as they require thinnest instruments. Moreover, the new fibers have wide applications for industrial uses such as imaging inside hazardous machines for oil and mineral drills. The researchers imaged a standard test target image using new air-clad fiber bundle and the commercial fiber.
Harry Wood of the University of Bath and first author of the paper, said: â€œThe honeycomb structure we developed combines glass and air to contain light far more tightly in the cores than traditional imaging fibers that use two types of glass. This allows us to bring the cores closer together than ever before possible, or squeeze in longer wavelengths of light, without the blurring that would be seen with conventional approaches.â€
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