Until now doctors have used expensive and complicated electronic devices which sent the measured data to the outside world as radio signals. On the other hand, according to Felix Gattiker of Empa’s Electronics, Metrology and Reliability Laboratory, an electronics-free sensor offers many advantages – not least of the financial kind. In the new Empa sensor the data is read out by means of an ultrasonic scanner.
The solution is in the form of a small, hollow spiral which sits on the implant together with a fluid reservoir. When the implant is subject to compression or tension the level of fluid in the spiral changes. This level is measured with the help of an ultrasonic device, and the resulting data allows the mechanical loading on the implant to be calculated.
The ultrasonic image is, however, too indistinct to allow the fluid level to be determined visually, so the Empa researchers decided to analyze the ultrasonic signal in more detail. They quickly found a dependence between the ultrasonic echo generated over the complete spiral and the actual fill level – the weaker the ultrasonic echo measured, the higher the level, and therefore the greater the force acting on the sensor.
Further research is already in the pipeline
The sensor produces reliable measurement data, as numerous experiments with artificial tissues – mixtures of gelling agent, glass ballotini and graphite powder, which depending on the mixing ratios allow different types of tissue to be simulated – have demonstrated. Not only that, it is also economic to manufacture, being very much cheaper than the existing electronic versions. The next step is to test the accuracy of the new method using various animal tissues, since each material has its own acoustic signature because it reflects and absorbs ultrasonic energy differently.
In addition, the Empa scientists are investigating the idea of making the sensor out of biodegradable materials, in which case the device would simply dissolve away in the patient’s body after completing its task. The surgeon need not therefore sharpen his scalpel a second time, there being no need to remove the sensor when the fracture has healed! And finally, there is the outstanding matter of finding an industrial partner to manufacture the sensors and integrate them into the implants.
Remigius Nideroest | alfa
A first look at interstitial fluid flow in the brain
05.07.2018 | American Institute of Physics
A sentinel to watch over ocular pressure
04.07.2018 | Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.07.2018 | Life Sciences
16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences