Windowless ultrasound photoacoustic cell for in vivo mid-IR spectroscopy of human epidermis: low interference by changes of air pressure, temperature, and humidity caused by skin contact opens the possibility for a non-invasive monitoring of glucose in the interstitial fluid

The Review of Scientific Instruments
Miguel PleitezWerner Mäntele


The application of a novel open, windowless cell for the photoacoustic infrared spectroscopy of human skin is described. This windowless cavity is tuned for optimum performance in the ultrasound range between 50 and 60 kHz. In combination with an external cavity tunable quantum cascade laser emitting in the range from ~1000 cm(-1) to 1245 cm(-1), this approach leads to high signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) for mid-infrared spectra of human skin. This opens the possibility to measure in situ the absorption spectrum of human epidermis in the mid-infrared region at high SNR in a few (~5) seconds. Rapid measurement of skin spectra greatly reduces artifacts arising from movements. As compared to closed resonance cells, the windowless cell exhibits the advantage that the influence of air pressure variations, temperature changes, and air humidity buildup that are caused by the contact of the cell to the skin surface can be minimized. We demonstrate here that this approach can be used for continuous and non-invasive monitoring of the glucose level in human epidermis, and thus may form the basis for a non-invasive monitoring of the glucose level for diabetes patients.


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