Characterizing tissue stiffness at the tip of a rigid needle using an opto-mechanical force sensor
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We present a novel device that allows the user to measure the Young Modulus of a material at the opening of a 5 mm diameter needle. The device relies on a miniaturized cantilever spring mounted at the end of the needle and interrogated via Fabry-Perot optical fiber interferometry. The probe is repetitively brought in and out of contact with the sample at the end of the needle by means of a steel cable that is controlled via a piezoelectric actuator located at the proximal end. We demonstrate the ability of our device to detect and quantify layers of varying stiffness during needle insertion in a gelatin phantom and to successfully locate tissue boundaries in bovine liver tissue embedded in gelatin.