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Marchi, G.; Canti, O.; Baier, V.; Micallef, W.; Hartmann, B.; Alberton, P.; Aszodi, A.; Clausen-Schaumann, H.; Roths, J. (2018): Cartilage microindentation using cylindrical and spherical optical fiber indenters with integrated Bragg gratings as force sensors. In: Optical Elastography and Tissue Biomechanics V, Vol. 10496
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Fiber optic microindentation sensors that have the potential to be integrated into arthroscopic instruments and to allow localizing degraded articular cartilage are presented in this paper. The indenters consist of optical fibers with integrated Bragg gratings as force sensors. In a basic configuration, the tip of the fiber optic indenter consists of a cleaved fiber end, forming a cylindrical flat punch indenter geometry. When using this indenter geometry, high stresses at the edges of the cylinder are present, which can disrupt the tissue structure. This is avoided with an improved version of the indenter, a spherical indenter tip that is formed by melting the end of the glass fiber. The spherical fiber tip shows the additional advantage of strongly reducing reflections from the fiber end. This allows a reduction of the length of the fiber optic sensor element from 65 mm of the flat punch type to 27 mm of the spherical punch. In order to compare the performance of both indenter types, in vifro stress-relaxation indentation experiments were performed on bovine articular cartilage with both indenter types, to assess biomechanical properties of bovine articular cartilage. For indentation depths between 60 mu m and 300 mu m, the measurements with both indenter types agreed very well with each other. This shows that both indenter geometries are suitable for microindentation measurements. The spherical indenter however has the additional advantage that it minimizes the risk to damage the surface of the tissue and has less than half dimensions than the flat indenter.