Wireless data transfer through biological tissues using near-infrared light: Testing skull and skin phantoms

Iqrar Ahmed (Corresponding author), Alexander Bykov, Alexey Popov, Igor Meglinski, Marcos Katz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Light in the range of 700-1100 nm has many proven diagnostics and therapeutic medical applications. In this study, we demonstrate another potential application of light. We implemented a testbed to transmit data wireleßly through a human skull and biological phantoms mimicking skin tißues properties using near-infrared (NIR) light. Currently, radio frequency (RF) is widely used to transmit data wireleßly through biological tißues, example includes implants communications. However, RF communications contain interference and security challenges. In this study, we present a novel use of NIR light for wireleß data transfer, for which a phantom is exposed to an externally modulated light source and the transmitted light through phantom is captured with a receiver. Initially, a high-resolution picture is succeßfully transmitted through skin phantom of 2 cm in depth. In the second phase, we succeßfully communicated through a human skull. Due to hardware limitations, we are able to achieve data rates in tens of kilobits per second. The minimum power applied to the phantoms measured during the data transmißion from 810 nm light-emitting-diode (LED) is 0.098 W/cm2. The measured optical power values are within the safe limit set by ANSI.Z136.1-2007 standard on laser safety, which is 2 W/cm2 for 1 sec exposure of 830 nm wavelength. Initial results are encouraging and there are many poßible applications for a system using light to transmit data wireleßly through biological tißues, including communication with brain implants and performing brain therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeural Imaging and Sensing 2020
EditorsQingming Luo, Jun Ding, Ling Fu
PublisherInternational Society for Optics and Photonics SPIE
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5106-3216-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-5106-3215-8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventNeural Imaging and Sensing 2020 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 3 Feb 20205 Feb 2020

Publication series

SeriesProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging
SeriesProceedings of SPIE


ConferenceNeural Imaging and Sensing 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • Bio tißues
  • MICS
  • Near-infrared
  • OWC
  • RF


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