Omnidirectional Tissue Illuminator

Technology #16178

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Leah Acker
Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Enginnering, MIT
Managed By
Ben Rockney
MIT Technology Licensing Officer
Patent Protection

Methods and apparatus for omnidirectional tissue illumination

US Patent Pending 2015-0032190


  • Neuromodulation of large brain regions in conjunction with ontogenetic techniques
  • Various medical applications: vascular surgery (angioplasty), stent repair, photo-cautery, photo- ablation, dermatological light-based therapy (tattoo removal, treatment of cystic acne, scars and warts, etc.), photoactivation of light caged drugs, photodynamic therapy, light sensitive prosthetic devices.
  • Various industrial applications; i.e. food preparation and sanitation, cure light sensitive adhesives

Problem Addressed

Current optical fibers deliver/receive light from a flat or slightly modified tip, often with the light emitting/receiving surface area similar or equal to the cross-sectional area of the fiber.  These conventional fibers often have limitations in meeting the light distribution needs for various applications and have the risk of tissue overheating and fiber breaking. 


This invention pertains to a biocompatible optical fiber with a thin, tapered tip that allows light to be uniformly delivered to or received from a much larger volume than conventional optical fibers.  This illuminator has a thin, etched light emitting tip which can emit light in all surrounding directions over distances two to three orders of magnitude greater than the diameter of the fiber.  The tapered shape and thin diameter of the tip minimize penetration damage, which is particularly important for biological and medical applications when this fiber is used in tissue.  The large light emitting surface allows for more light to be delivered to a given volume of tissue than with conventional fibers.  Because the light does not have to travel as far to illuminate a given volume, this fiber decreases the risk of tissue heating when used for in vivo application.


  • Delivers light to a much larger tissue volume than a conventional flat tipped optical fiber; minimal risk of tissue heating.
  • Tapered and flexible tip made with poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA); no risk of fiber breaking and minimum penetration tissue damage.