Abstract

Cylindrical fiber diffusers have become common tools for various medical therapies. However, their large outer diameters and short lengths restrict their clinical application in some newly developed light therapies. Here, a 250-µm outer-diameter diffuser with an active length that exceeds 5 cm is presented. Diffusers are created in photosensitive optical fibers with outer cladding diameters of 140 µm by use of a structured beam from an excimer laser. Predetermined emission profiles can be achieved. Photometric characteristics, including longitudinal, polar, and azimuthal emission diagrams, were determined by use of a goniometer to assess the light-emission performance of the diffuser. Longitudinal isotropy of better than ±10% was achieved. Polar and azimuthal emissions were within ±15% of those of an ideal linear Lambertian emitter. Polar uniformity could be improved by an insignificant increase in the outer diameter by use of a diffusing recoating compound. The residual leakage of light at the distal end of the diffuser can be as little as 1%. Other physical parameters tested include minimal bending radius after recoating (<5 mm) and maximum power handling (>1.0 W cm−1). All materials employed were biocompatible.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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