Simultaneous measurements of tissue blood flow and oxygenation using a wearable fiber-free optical sensor

Xuhui Liu, Yutong Gu, Chong Huang, Mingjun Zhao, Yanda Cheng, Elie G.Abu Jawdeh, Henrietta S. Bada, Lei Chen, Guoqiang Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Significance: There is an essential need to develop wearable multimodality technologies that can continuously measure both blood flow and oxygenation in deep tissues to investigate and manage various vascular/cellular diseases. Aim: To develop a wearable dual-wavelength diffuse speckle contrast flow oximetry (DSCFO) for simultaneous measurements of blood flow and oxygenation variations in deep tissues. Approach: A wearable fiber-free DSCFO probe was fabricated using 3D printing to confine two small near-infrared laser diodes and a tiny CMOS camera in positions for DSCFO measurements. The spatial diffuse speckle contrast and light intensity measurements at the two different wavelengths enable quantification of tissue blood flow and oxygenation, respectively. The DSCFO was first calibrated using tissue phantoms and then tested in adult forearms during artery cuff occlusion. Results: Phantom tests determined the largest effective source-detector distance (15 mm) and optimal camera exposure time (10 ms) and verified the accuracy of DSCFO in measuring absorption coefficient variations. The DSCFO detected substantial changes in forearm blood flow and oxygenation resulting from the artery occlusion, which meet physiological expectations and are consistent with previous study results. Conclusions: The wearable DSCFO may be used for continuous and simultaneous monitoring of blood flow and oxygenation variations in freely behaving subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012705
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 31 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH, Grants No. R01-HD101508-01, No. R01-EB028792, No. R01-AG062480, No. R56-NS117587, No. R21-HD091118, No. R21-AG046762, and No. R21-NS114771), American Heart Association (AHA Grants #16GRNT30820006 and #14SDG20480186), and National Science Foundation (NSF Grant #1539068). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH, AHA, or NSF.

Funding Information:
Our wearable DSCFO technique allows noninvasive measurements of both blood flow and oxygenation in relatively deep tissues (up to ∼10 mm). Supported by the National Institutes of Health pilot grants, we are currently optimizing this technique for noninvasive cerebral monitoring in rodents, piglets, and human neonates. We will optimize the sources (e.g., wavelengths and intensities) and detectors (e.g., better quality cameras) to further improve measurement sensitivity, SNR, and penetration depth, with the goal of measuring cerebral hemodynamics in human adults. Since parts/components used to build the reusable DSCFO probe are relatively inexpensive, we can integrate multiple laser diodes and cameras into larger probes (such as conventional NIRS/DCS probes63–67) to cover larger tissue volumes and improve sampling density. Moreover, the DSCFO controller (Arduino Uno board) has multiple I/O channels to control multiple modules and probes.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Authors. Published by SPIE under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. Distribution or reproduction of this work in whole or in part requires full attribution of the original publication, including its DOI.


  • blood flow
  • blood oxygenation
  • deep tissue
  • speckle contrast
  • wearable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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