Miniature fiber optic pressure sensor with composite polymer-metal diaphragm for intradiscal pressure measurements

Silas Nesson, Miao Yu, Xuming Zhang, Adam H. Hsieh

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


We developed a miniature fiber optic pressure sensor system and utilized it for in vitro intradiscal pressure measurements for rodents. One of the unique features of this work is the design and fabrication of a sensor element with a multilayer polymer-metal diaphragm. This diaphragm consists of a base polyimide layer (150nm thick), a metal reflective layer (1μm thick), and another polyimide layer for protection and isolation (150nm thick). The sensor element is biocompatible and can be fabricated by simple, batch-fabrication methods in a non-cleanroom environment with good device-to-device uniformity. The fabricated sensor element has an outer diameter of only 366μm, which is small enough to be inserted into the rodent discs without disrupting the structure or altering the intradiscal pressures. In the calibration and in vitro rodent intradiscal pressure measurements, the sensor element exhibits a linear response to the applied pressure over the range of 0-70kPa, with a sensitivity of 0.0206μm/kPa and a resolution of 0.17kPa. To our best knowledge, this work is the first successful demonstration of rodent intradiscal pressure measurements.
Original languageEnglish
Article number044040
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Fabry-Pérot interferometers
  • fiber optic sensors
  • intervertebral disc pressure
  • low-coherence interferometry
  • pressure sensors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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