Within the MIRACLE project, art photonics GmbH developed the novel type of Side-ATR Loop probe for arthroscopy.

The innovative hook-shaped design of this new probe is similar in comparison with the already designed 1st type of Side ATR-probe using tiny mirrors and Diamond ATR-element, but it’s much more advanced in optical sensitivity achieved with substantial cost reduction. The hook shape of Side-ATR fibre probes is pioneering in design worldwide among ATR-probes and provide the unique possibility to reach hard access areas of cartilage in arthroscopy diagnostics – to detect optically its content changes specific of the disease.

The innovative flexible Side-ATR-Loop probe has been tested for 5 times higher signal to noise ratio compared to the previously developed diamond hook-shaped probe, while its cost was below the diamond hook-shape probe alternative. The next generation of Side-ATR Loop probe will secure its medical applications in-vivo by the protective window incorporation in its design – to follow very promising tests already made for the current prototype performed with ex-vivo cartilage samples.

These tests are realised now with the probe coupling to FTIR-spectrometers and with the 1st prototype QCL-system – where the power from 7 Quantum Cascade Lasers at the 7 wavelengths is combined by unique PIR-fibre spider into the Side-ATR-probe input. This spider solution was found as 40 times more effective compared to the original plan to couple QCL with Hollow Waveguide Combiner. This outstanding progress was reached in design & fabrication of multi-wavelength IR-fibre coupled QCL system – the 1st one worldwide.

The hook-shaped probe is an essential part of the clinical device to be built in cooperation with technical partners as OptoPrecision GmbH, Nanoplus GmbH, IRIS and Norwegian University of Life Sciences and conform with the European Medical Device Regulation (EU) 2017/745.