During minimally invasive surgical procedures, it is often important to deliver needles to particular tissue volumes. Needles, when interacting with a substrate, cause deformation and target motion. To reduce reliance on compensatory intra-operative imaging, a needle design and novel delivery mechanism is proposed. Three-dimensional finite element simulations of a multi-segment needle inserted into a pre-existing crack are presented. The motion profiles of the needle segments are varied to identify methods that reduce target motion. Experiments are then performed by inserting a needle into a gelatine tissue phantom and measuring the internal target motion using digital image correlation. Simulations indicate that target motion is reduced when needle segments are stroked cyclically and utilise a small amount of retraction instead of being held stationary. Results are confirmed experimentally by statistically significant target motion reductions of more than 8% during cyclic strokes and 29% when also incorporating retraction, with the same net insertion speed. By using a multi-segment needle and taking advantage of frictional interactions on the needle surface, it is demonstrated that target motion ahead of an advancing needle can be substantially reduced.
The mobility of soft tissue can cause inaccurate needle insertions. Particularly in steering applications that employ thin and flexible needles, large deviations can occur between pre-operative images of the patient, from which a procedure is planned, and the intra-operative scene, where a procedure is executed. Although many approaches for reducing tissue motion focus on external constraining or manipulation, little attention has been paid to the way the needle is inserted and actuated within soft tissue. Using our biologically inspired steerable needle, we present a method of reducing the disruptiveness of insertions by mimicking the burrowing mechanism of ovipositing wasps. Internal displacements and strains in three dimensions within a soft tissue phantom are measured at the needle interface, using a scanning laser-based image correlation technique. Compared to a conventional insertion method with an equally sized needle, overall displacements and strains in the needle vicinity are reduced by 30% and 41%, respectively. The results show that, for a given net speed, needle insertion can be made significantly less disruptive with respect to its surroundings by employing our biologically inspired solution. This will have significant impact on both the safety and targeting accuracy of percutaneous interventions along both straight and curved trajectories.
Puncturing blood vessels during percutaneous intervention in minimally invasive brain surgery can be a life threatening complication. Embedding a forward looking sensor in a rigid needle has been proposed to tackle this problem but, when using a rigid needle, the procedure needs to be interrupted and the needle extracted if a vessel is detected. As an alternative, we propose a novel optical method to detect a vessel in front of a steerable needle. The needle itself is based on a biomimetic, multi-segment design featuring four hollow working channels. Initially, a laser Doppler flowmetry probe is characterized in a tissue phantom with optical properties mimicking those of human gray matter. Experiments are performed to show that the probe has a 2.1 mm penetration depth and a 1 mm off-axis detection range for a blood vessel phantom with 5 mm s?1 flow velocity. This outcome demonstrates that the probe fulfills the minimum requirements for it to be used in conjunction with our needle. A pair of Doppler probes is then embedded in two of the four working channels of the needle and vessel reconstruction is performed using successive measurements to determine the depth and the off-axis position of the vessel from each laser Doppler probe. The off-axis position from each Doppler probe is then used to generate a 'detection circle' per probe, and vessel orientation is predicted using tangent lines between the two. The vessel reconstruction has a depth root mean square error (RMSE) of 0.3 mm and an RMSE of 15° in the angular prediction, showing real promise for a future clinical application of this detection system.
X-ray sources are used for both scientific instrumentation and inspection applications. In X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), aluminum K± X-rays are generated through electron beam irradiation of a copper-based X-ray anode incorporating a thin surface layer of aluminum. The maximum power operation of the X-ray anode is limited by the relatively low melting point of the aluminum. Hence, optimization of the materials and design of the X-ray anode to transfer heat away from the aluminum thin film is key to maximizing performance. Finite element analysis has been employed to model the heat transfer of a water-cooled copper-based X-ray anode with and without the use of a CVD (chemical vapour deposited) diamond heat spreader. The modeling approach was to construct a representative baseline model, and then to vary different parameters systematically, solving for a steady state thermal condition, and observing the effect of on the maximum temperature attained. The model indicates that a CVD diamond heat spreader (with isotropic thermal properties) brazed into the copper body reduces the maximum temperature in the 4 ¼m aluminum layer from 613 °C to 301 °C. Introducing realistic anisotropy in the TC (thermal conductivity) of the CVD diamond has no significant effect on heat transfer if the aluminum film is on the CVD diamond growth face (with the highest TC). However, if the aluminum layer is on the CVD diamond nucleation face (with the lowest TC), the maximum temperature is 575 °C. Implications for anode design are discussed.
Armour which is manufactured and distributed for personnel, vehicle and structural protection, primarily for military or policing applications, undergoes stringent testing to ensure that it can meet the demands of a range of impact scenarios. However, the effects of repetitive low-level damage are not fully understood and, in order to maintain a given level of protection, armour is recalled and replaced periodically, which is costly, and may be unnecessary. This paper reports preliminary studies on the relationship between minor damage and the resulting impact resistance of a woven fabric reinforced composite laminate (E-glass with epoxy resin). Specimens were subjected to displacement-controlled fatigue tests to introduce dispersed damage before being subjected to quasi-static indentation testing. The results showed that during penetration of the specimens, the peak load was reduced by approximately 10% for the pre-fatigued specimens, compared to the non-fatigued specimens, and there was some indication the energy absorption also reduced. It is proposed that the development of fibre fractures during the pre-fatigue of the specimens is the origin of these changes.