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Proceedings Paper

Using a portable terahertz spectrometer to measure the optical properties of in vivo human skin
Author(s): Ibtissam Echchgadda; Jessica E. Grundt; Melissa Tarango; Bennett L. Ibey; Thomas Tongue; Min Liang; Hao Xin; Gerald J. Wilmink
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Paper Abstract

Terahertz time-domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS) systems are capable of detecting small differences in water concentration levels in biological tissues. This feature makes THz devices excellent tools for the noninvasive assessment of skin; however, most conventional systems prove too cumbersome for limited-space environments. We previously demonstrated that a portable, compact THz spectrometer permitted measurement of porcine skin optical properties that were comparable to those collected with conventional systems. In order to move toward human use of this system, the goal for this study was to collect the optical properties, specifically the absorption coefficient (μa) and index of refraction (n), of human subjects in vivo. Spectra were collected from 0.1-2 THz, and measurements were made on the palm, ventral (inner) and dorsal (outer) forearm. Prior to each THz measurement, we used a multiprobe adapter system to measure each subject’s skin hydration levels, transepidermal waterloss (TEWL), skin color, and degree of melanin pigmentation. Our results suggest that the measured optical properties were wide-ranging, and varied considerably for skin tissues with different hydration and melanin levels. These data provide a novel framework for accurate human tissue measurements using THz spectrometers in limited-space environments.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 February 2013
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 8585, Terahertz and Ultrashort Electromagnetic Pulses for Biomedical Applications, 85850J (28 February 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2004944
Show Author Affiliations
Ibtissam Echchgadda, National Academy of Sciences NRC Research Associateship (United States)
Jessica E. Grundt, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Melissa Tarango, General Dynamics Information Technology (United States)
Bennett L. Ibey, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Thomas Tongue, Zomega Terahertz Corp. (United States)
Min Liang, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Hao Xin, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Gerald J. Wilmink, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8585:
Terahertz and Ultrashort Electromagnetic Pulses for Biomedical Applications
Gerald J. Wilmink; Bennett L. Ibey, Editor(s)

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