Modulation transfer function of the imaging probe using an 8.8 mm-long and 125 µm-thick graded- index short multimode fiber

Significance Statement

In vivo imaging of tissues offers vast opportunities in biological and other medical fields. Reliable and robust endoscopic probing as well as imaging catheters are in high demand in several biomedical optic applications. In a bid to minimize trauma arising from insertion of needles in applications such as delicate organs imaging, using very thin needles is preferable.

Probes implementation can be achieved through forward or side imaging. In the latter, deep skeletal muscles are imaged with the help of thin optical needle probe with an outer diameter of approximately 310µm. A needle endoscope with a bundle of fiber has been applied in the forward-imaging. The endoscope is simply a reflectance-mode fiber microscope. However, most of these probes are large for minimally invasive imaging.

In a recent research published in Optics Communications scientists led by Professor Manabu Sato at Yamagata University in Japan, determined the modulation transfer function by applying short multimode fiber with a length of 8.8 mm and 125 µm diameter. The authors proposed an optical model and a phase screen to explain blurs. They also compared, in their work, dependence of the contrast on wavelengths and simulation and experimental results.

The authors adopted an experimental setup that would help them assess the graded-index short multimode fiber, which was designed for optical communications (Fujikura Ltd., Future Guide-MM50), based on an optical microscope. The authors imaged the fiber together with a sample using a camera and a Laser displace gauge. They obtained the distance between the fiber and the specimen as imaging conditions by calibrating the images obtained.

The authors determined the dependence of contrasts on wavelengths of 540nm, 632nm, 730nm, and 852nm using a test pattern of 228lp/mm (period of 4.38µm). They noted that the black and white were inverted between the reflection and the transmission images. For the reflection images, they recorded a high signal intensity and low contrast at a wavelength of 540 nm. However, at a wavelength of 852 nm, both signal intensity and the contrast were low. The authors concluded that the images at 852 nm wavelength degraded because of low quantum efficiency of the camera and low optical power of Halogen lamp.

The authors observed that the contrast decreased with the increase of the spatial frequency. Without the random phase screens in the short wavelength zone, the authors noticed an improvement in the dependence of contrast. However, for zones with high frequency, they recorded a drop in the contrasts as the spatial frequencies increased. With the random phase screens, they observed a drop in the contrast as the wavelengths became shorter. However, in the long wavelength regions, the contrasts were approximately similar to those without the random phase screens.

This study has, therefore, presented an optical model based on short multimode fiber that the authors managed to fabricate. The study also focused on using random phase screens to characterize the degradation of the imaging attributes and measuring the modulation transfer function. The authors, therefore, proposed an 8.8mm short multimode fiber optical model. The outcomes of the study are helpful in designing imaging optics and estimate their performances. This form as an imaging probe is prime because of an ultra-thinness for less invasion, high stability and reliability due to a simple structure and low cost. This might open new applications in fields of physiology and clinical medicine.

About the author

Manabu Sato was born in 1962. He received his B.S. in electronics engineering from Yamagata University, M.S. in graduated school of electronics engineering from Tohoku University in 1986, worked Hitachi Research Laboratory in Hitachi Ltd. until 1989, and joined Ishinomaki Senshu University as a Research Associate. He returned to Research Institute of Electrical Communications in Tohoku University as Research Associate in 1993, and studied on the nonlinear optics using nonlinear crystals such a periodically poled LiNbO3 crystal to generate mid infrared waves. He received his PhD. from Tohoku University in 1994. He also joined Optoelectronics Research Center in University of Southampton in UK as a Visiting Researcher from 1996 to 1997. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1998 in graduate program of human sensing and functional sensor engineering in Yamagata University. He started the study on the optical sectional imaging such as optical coherence tomography, promoted to Professor in 2007, and moved to graduate school of science and engineering in Yamagata University.

He has published over 170 journal and conference papers. He is also a member of Optical Society of America, the Japan Society of Applied Physics, and the optical society of Japan.


Manabu Sato1, Kou Shouji1, and Izumi Nishidate2. Modulation transfer function of the imaging probe using an 8.8 mm-long and 125 µm-thick graded- index short multimode fiber. Optics Communications, volume 385 (2017), pages 25–35.

Show Affiliations
  1. Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Yamagata University, Yonezawa, Yamagata 9928510, Japan.
  2. Graduate School of Bio-Applications & Systems Engineering, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Koganei, Tokyo 1848588, Japan.


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