Dr Matthew Oldfield

Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering
PhD, CEng (IMechE)
+44 (0)1483 684402
17 AA 02



Dr Matthew Oldfield is a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering within the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences. He joined the University of Surrey in 2016 and is part of the Centre for Biomedical Engineering.

Dr Oldfield gained an MEng in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Liverpool. Staying at the University, he obtained his PhD on the 'Harmonic Excitation of Bolted Joints' in the Structural Mechanics group. Following his PhD, he spent two years working in the Civil Service before re-entering academic life at Brunel University. While there, in two postdoctoral positions, he investigated the optimal design of inertial, piezoelectric MEMs devices and the use of pattern recognition techniques in the dynamic analysis of structures.

After leaving Brunel University, Dr Oldfield took a position in the Mechatronics in Medicine Laboratory at Imperial College. In a group focussing on medical applications of robotic technology, his main work was numerical modelling in a team developing a steerable needle for use in neurosurgery. He investigated finite element modelling of needle cutting and the interactions allowing a soft surgical catheter to navigate tissue. The experimental validation of this work has also led to an interest in digital image correlation measurement techniques and the properties of soft solids. Dr Oldfield was part of a team that developed methods to analyse the insertion mechanics of a needle, inside a soft tissue phantom, with sub-millimetre resolution. While with the Mechatronics in Medicine Laboratory, he also led a project team that produced a novel retraction device for thyroid surgery performed with the daVinci robot.

Following seven years at Imperial College, Dr Oldfield left to take up his position, here, at the University of Surrey.


Postgraduate research supervision

Courses I teach on



Postgraduate taught

My publications


Oldfield M, Leibinger A, Seah TET, Rodriguez y Baena F (2015) Method to Reduce Target Motion Through Needle?Tissue Interactions,Annals of Biomedical Engineering 43 (11) pp. 2794-2803 Springer
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.
Leibinger A, Oldfield M, Rodriguez y Baena F (2016) Minimally disruptive needle insertion: a biologically inspired solution,Interface Focus 6 (3) The Royal Society
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.
Virdyawan V, Oldfield Matthew, Rodriguez y Baena F (2018) Laser Doppler Sensing for Blood Vessel Detection
with a Biologically Inspired Steerable Needle
Bioinspiration & Biomimetics 13 (2) 026009 IOP Publishing
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.
Stupple David, Kemp V, Oldfield Matthew, Watts John, Baker Mark (2018) Modeling of Heat Transfer in an Aluminum X-ray Anode Employing a CVD Diamond Heat Spreader,Journal of Heat Transfer 140 (12) 124501 American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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.
Edwards Cerise, Helliker M, James BD, Jesson David, Livesey RL, Ogin Stephen, Oldfield Matthew (2018) The effect of damage on the impact resistance of composite materials,ECCM18 conference proceedings
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.
Terzano Michele, Dini Daniele, Rodriguez y Baena Ferdinando, Spagnoli Andrea, Oldfield Matthew (2020) An adaptive finite element model for steerable needles,Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology Springer Nature
Penetration of a flexible and steerable needle into a soft target material is a complex problem to be modelled, involving several
mechanical challenges. In the present paper, an adaptive finite element algorithm is developed to simulate the penetration of a
steerable needle in brain-like gelatine material, where the penetration path is not predetermined. The geometry of the needle
tip induces asymmetric tractions along the tool?substrate frictional interfaces, generating a bending action on the needle
in addition to combined normal and shear loading in the region where fracture takes place during penetration. The fracture
process is described by a cohesive zone model, and the direction of crack propagation is determined by the distribution of
strain energy density in the tissue surrounding the tip. Simulation results of deep needle penetration for a programmable
bevel-tip needle design, where steering can be controlled by changing the offset between interlocked needle segments, are
mainly discussed in terms of penetration force versus displacement along with a detailed description of the needle tip trajectories. It is shown that such results are strongly dependent on the relative stiffness of needle and tissue and on the tip offset.
The simulated relationship between programmable bevel offset and needle curvature is found to be approximately linear,
confirming empirical results derived experimentally in a previous work. The proposed model enables a detailed analysis of
the tool?tissue interactions during needle penetration, providing a reliable means to optimise the design of surgical catheters
and aid pre-operative planning.
Throughout use, military equipment is subjected to everyday wear and tear. Some may be significant in its own right, some will interact with other damage, and some will fatigue with use. Under these circumstances, how will equipment that has been in the field deal with an actual ballistic event, or other primary duty issue?
Current assessment methodologies ensure safety standards are met, but detailed evaluation of components requires transportation from site. Minimising transport of equipment would reduce costs and fuel usage, and also save lives.
The current work considers the use of digital image correlation (DIC) for non-destructive evaluation (NDE), with a particular focus on the assessment of combat helmets.
To optimize component loading, the use of pressure differentials and single-point mechanical loading were trialed. Finite element analysis (FEA) suggests pressure differentials produce a greater likelihood for the detection of component damage via surface strain discontinuities. By contrast, single point loading produces highly concentrated strain in the region of contact, whilst minimal strains result for the rest of the component.
The optimization of component speckling has also been considered, leading to the development of a novel approach using customisable transfer paper, which can be printed with a pattern specific to a given test geometry. This allows greater standardization, faster application, and increased accuracy, compared with traditional approaches, such as spray painting a speckle pattern.
Following these experiments, NDE of an entire military helmet was investigated using a portable test rig. With the method for helmet loading in concept stage, proof that the technique can detect damage is presented via five case studies. The variety of materials and testing processes show the novel approach for component speckling has direct use for the completion of, and external to, the primary goal of the project: ?to develop a DIC technique with the potential for portable damage detection of helmets?.