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Journal of Biomedical Optics

Mechanically switchable polymer fibers for sensing in biological conditions
Author(s): Sean McMillan; Chris Rader; Mehdi Jorfi; Gary Pickrell; E. Johan Foster
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Paper Abstract

The area of in vivo sensing using optical fibers commonly uses materials such as silica and polymethyl methacrylate, both of which possess much higher modulus than human tissue. The mechanical mismatch between materials and living tissue has been seen to cause higher levels of glial encapsulation, scarring, and inflammation, leading to failure of the implanted medical device. We present the use of a fiber made from polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) for use as an implantable sensor as it is an easy to work with functionalized polymer that undergoes a transition from rigid to soft when introduced to water. This ability to switch from stiff to soft reduces the severity of the immune response. The fabricated PVA fibers labeled with fluorescein for sensing applications showed excellent response to various stimuli while exhibiting mechanical switchability. For the dry fibers, a tensile storage modulus of 4700 MPa was measured, which fell sharply to 145 MPa upon wetting. The fibers showed excellent response to changing pH levels, producing values that were detectable in a range consistent with those seen in the literature and in proposed applications. The results show that these mechanically switchable fibers are a viable option for future sensing applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 February 2017
PDF: 7 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 22(2) 027001 doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.22.2.027001
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 22, Issue 2
Show Author Affiliations
Sean McMillan, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)
Chris Rader, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)
Mehdi Jorfi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Massachusetts General Hospital (United States)
Gary Pickrell, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)
E. Johan Foster, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)

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