A fibre-optic oxygen sensor for monitoring human breathing

Rongsheng Chen, Federico Formenti, Andy Obeid, Clive E W Hahn, Andrew D Farmery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The development and construction of a tapered-tip fibre-optic fluorescence based oxygen sensor is described. The sensor is suitable for fast and real-time monitoring of human breathing. The sensitivity and response time of the oxygen sensor were evaluated in vitro with a gas pressure chamber system, where oxygen partial pressure was rapidly changed between 5 and 15 kPa, and then in vivo in five healthy adult participants who synchronized their breathing to a metronome set at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 breaths min(-1). A Datex Ultima medical gas analyser was used to monitor breathing rate as a comparator. The sensor's response time in vitro was less than 150 ms, which allows accurate continuous measurement of inspired and expired oxygen pressure. Measurements of breathing rate by means of our oxygen sensor and of the Datex Ultima were in strong agreement. The results demonstrate that the device can reliably resolve breathing rates up to 60 breaths min(-1), and that it is a suitable cost-effective alternative for monitoring breathing rates and end-tidal oxygen partial pressure in the clinical setting. The rapid response time of the sensor may allow its use for monitoring rapid breathing rates as occur in children and the newborn.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N71-81
JournalPhysiological Measurement
Issue number9
Early online date19 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Optical Fibers
  • Oxygen
  • Respiration
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors


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