Opaque to nearly the entire spectrum of light, the living human body is a tough nut to crack for imaging techniques. Lasers can circumvent this problem by delivering a strong, focused beam of light exactly where it is needed, and radial emitters, which produce laser light in a homogenous ring across the circumference of the fiber, are particularly popular for medical applications. Sterile, medical-grade fibers are commonly used for endovenous laser applications, such as the treatment of varicose veins, but must be supplied from European and Chinese sources and can only be used for a single operation.
Ortaç Research Group has long been conducting research for the domestic fabrication of light-emitting fibers for medical applications, and their studies have now culminated in the production of a new generation of fibers optimized for this purpose. The group has high hopes of their performance: “Now, the optical design, production and characterization of these fibers have been totally accomplished. The fibers have a substantial quality in light output, and experimental results agree well with the theoretical expectations”, says Elif Uzcengiz, a Master’s student working on the project.
Their work is also an outstanding example of cooperation between academic and industrial research, as these fibers have already been commercialized by an UNAM spin-off company, E-A Technology, using the know-how developed together with Ortaç Research Group. Ali Aytaç Seymen, co-founder of E-A Technology and a major contributor to the development of the fibers, suggests that their research “is limited neither to endovenous applications nor radial fibers, and further research on other types of optical fibers would enable their use in various fields such as urology, gynecology, ENT operations, ophtalmology and other minimally invasive and non-invasive laser applications”.
Researchers involved in this project are Ali Aytaç Seymen, Elif Uzcengiz, Erol Özgur and Bulend Ortaç.