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Head Phantom for the Acquisition of Pulsatile Optical Signals for Traumatic Brain Injury Monitoring

Roldan, M. & Kyriacou, P. A. ORCID: 0000-0002-2868-485X (2023). Head Phantom for the Acquisition of Pulsatile Optical Signals for Traumatic Brain Injury Monitoring. Photonics, 10(5), article number 504. doi: 10.3390/photonics10050504


(1) Background: Tissue phantoms can provide a rigorous, reproducible and convenient approach to evaluating an optical sensor’s performance. The development, characterisation and evaluation of a vascular head/brain phantom is described in this study. (2) Methods: The methodology includes the development of mould-cast and 3D-printed anatomical models of the brain and the skull and a custom-made in vitro blood circulatory system used to emulate haemodynamic changes in the brain. The optical properties of the developed phantom were compared to literature values. Artificial cerebrospinal fluid was also incorporated to induce changes in intracranial pressure. (3) Results: A novel head model was successfully developed to mimic the brain and skull anatomies and their optical properties within the near-infrared range (660–900 nm). The circulatory system developed mimicked normal arterial blood pressure values, with a mean systole of 118 ± 8.5 mmHg and diastole of 70 ± 8.5 mmHg. Similarly, the cerebrospinal fluid circulation allowed controlled intracranial pressure changes from 5 to 30 mmHg. Multiwavelength pulsatile optical signals (photoplethysmograms (PPGs)) from the phantom’s cerebral arteries were successfully acquired. Conclusions: This unique head phantom technology forms the basis of a novel research tool for investigating the relationship between cerebral pulsatile optical signals and changes in intracranial pressure and brain haemodynamics.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Publisher Keywords: phantom; in vitro; optics; photoplethysmography; near-infrared spectroscopy
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
SWORD Depositor:
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