University of Oulu

I. Ahmed, S. Halder, A. Bykov, A. Popov, I. V. Meglinski and M. Katz, "In-Body Communications Exploiting Light: A Proof-of-Concept Study Using Ex Vivo Tissue Samples," in IEEE Access, vol. 8, pp. 190378-190389, 2020, doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2020.3031574

In-body communications exploiting light : a proof-of-concept study using ex vivo tissue samples

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Author: Ahmed, Iqrar1; Halder, Senjuti1; Bykov, Alexander2;
Organizations: 1Center for Wireless Communications, University of Oulu, FI-90570 Oulu, Finland
2Optoelectronic and Measurements Techniques Unit, University of Oulu, FI-90570 Oulu, Finland
3VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, FI-90570 Oulu, Finland
4Department of Biophotonics and Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, U.K.
5School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, U.K.
6Institute of Engineering Physics for Biomedicine, National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, 115409 Moscow, Russia
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-12-11


This article presents a feasibility study on the transmission of information through the biological tissues exploiting light. The experimental results demonstrating the potentials of optical wireless communications through biological tissues (OCBT) are presented. The main application of the proposed technology is in-body communications, where wireless connectivity needs to be provided to implanted electronic devices, such as pacemakers, cardiac defibrillators, and smart pills, for instance. Traditionally, in-body communications are performed using radio and acoustic waves. However, light has several fundamental advantages making the proposed technology highly attractive for this purpose. In particular, optical communications are highly secure, private, safe, and in many cases, extremely simple with the potential of low-power implementation. In the experiments, near-infrared light was used, as the light propagation in biotissues is more favorable in this part of the spectrum. The amount of light exposure given to biotissues was controlled to keep it within the safety limits. Information transmission experiments were carried out with the temperature-controlled ex vivo samples of porcine tissue. The tissue temperature was found to be significantly affecting the light propagation process. Communication performance with respect to the biotissue thickness and light direction was assessed. The results showed that optical channels to and from the possible implant are nearly reciprocal. Communication links were established to the deepness of more than four centimeters, and the data rates of up to 100 Kbps were obtained. The encouraging results of this study allow us to anticipate the potential applications of the proposed light-based technology to communicate with the various electronic devices implanted at different depths in the human body.

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Series: IEEE access
ISSN: 2169-3536
ISSN-E: 2169-3536
ISSN-L: 2169-3536
Volume: 8
Pages: 190378 - 190389
DOI: 10.1109/ACCESS.2020.3031574
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 213 Electronic, automation and communications engineering, electronics
Funding: The work of Alexander Bykov and Alexey Popov was supported by the Academy of Finland under Grant 314369. The work of Igor V. Meglinski was supported in part by the NEUROPA Research and Innovation Program Horizon 2020 under Project 863214, in part by the Academy of Finland under Project 325097, in part by the INFOTECH Strategic Funding, in part by the MEPhI Academic Excellence Project under Contract 02.a03.21.0005, and in part by the National Research Tomsk State University Academic D. I. Mendeleev Fund Program. The work of Iqrar Ahmed, Senjuti Halder, and Marcos Katz was mainly supported by Academy of Finland's funded project HERONET under Grant 311268 and in part funded by Academy of Finland 6Genesis Flagship under Grant 318927.
EU Grant Number: (863214) NEUROPA - Non-invasive dynamic neural control by laser-based technology
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 314369
Detailed Information: 314369 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
325097 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
311268 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
318927 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © The Authors 2020. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. For more information, see