POF in Medical Imaging Scanners
FiberFin’s years of experience with plastic optical fiber (POF) can serve unique demands of medical applications, particularly body scanners. POF is the ideal medium for data transmission in the EMI-heavy operating conditions involved with these machines, due to the nature of CAT and MRI scanner technology. Data integrity is of utmost importance in medical applications, and POF’s immunity to electromagnetic interference ensures that imaging data is not compromised.
Digitizing the raw image signal received by the scanner’s coil has the advantage of enhancing the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and preserving it for later signal processing. To achieve this, our partner Firecomms has designed non-magnetic transceivers that operate within the strong magnetic fields within the machines. Through the use of resonant cavity LEDs (RCLED), their transmitters emit the strongest output possible at low currents, while preserving stability for decades of reliable operation.
Control signals of motors and coils in these imaging machines are also best transmitted over POF. FiberFin offers Firecomms 1 MBd and 5 MBd transmitters and receivers for either POF or polymer-clad silica (PCS). This allows the drives for the coils to be galvanically isolated from the control circuitry, and allow for the control links to be immune to EMI as well. For other components of medical imaging machines, such as MR magnets, patient table motors, and gradient control systems, higher-speed 10 MBd and 50 MBd transceivers are also available.
Beyond the scanners themselves, Firecomms Gigabit transceivers allow for high-bandwidth links that can support multiple data streams between control rooms, datacenters, and laboratories. Compared to bulky RF cables conventionally used for these data links, POF is less expensive and easier to work with.
Benefits of POF for Medical Imaging
FiberFin and Firecomms products bring the following advantages and more to medical imaging applications:
- EMI immunity for noisy environments, such as high-voltage power supplies and MRI and CAT scanners
- Galvanic isolation between transmitters and receivers, for complying with or extending creepage and clearance distance requirements
- Visible spectrum operation, enabling fast and eye-safe troubleshooting
- Low power consumption transmitters, operating at 3-4 mA
- Lightweight components that are durable and flexible
- Resiliency to bending and vibrations
- Industrial temperature operating range of -40°C to +85°C
- 20-year lifetime on active components and cables, reducing maintenance downtime
- Simple field installation procedures