An optical fibre dynamic instrumented palpation sensor for the characterisation of biological tissue

Ji Li, S.J. Hammer, W.M. Shu, R.R.J. Maier, D.P. Hand, R.L. Reuben, W.N. MacPherson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The diagnosis of prostate cancer using invasive techniques (such as biopsy and blood tests for prostate-specific antigen) and non-invasive techniques (such as digital rectal examination and trans-rectal ultrasonography) may be enhanced by using an additional dynamic instrumented palpation approach to prostate tissue classification. A dynamically actuated membrane sensor/actuator has been developed that incorporates an optical fibre Fabry–Pérot interferometer to record the displacement of the membrane when it is pressed on to different tissue samples. The membrane sensor was tested on a silicon elastomer prostate model with enlarged and stiffer material on one side to simulate early stage prostate cancer. The interferometer measurement was found to have high dynamic range and accuracy, with a minimum displacement resolution of ±0.4 μm over a 721 μm measurement range. The dynamic response of the membrane sensor when applied to different tissue types changed depending on the stiffness of the tissue being measured. This demonstrates the feasibility of an optically tracked dynamic palpation technique for classifying tissue type based on the dynamic response of the sensor/actuator.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-60
Number of pages8
JournalSensors and Actuators A: Physical
Early online date9 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • membrane
  • interferometer
  • soft tissue
  • palpation
  • Fabry–Pérot


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