This patent application has not been assigned to a company or institution.
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "It is known that radiation or lighting systems using LEDs and/or OLEDs will perform better at low temperatures. Therefore, each such lighting system will have a cooling system to limit the temperature of the LEDs and/or OLEDs.
"When using radiation emitting devices for application near mammal tissue, it is very important to control and limit the temperature of the irradiated tissue. In general, thermal losses in terms of residual heat from LED and/or OLED devices will be removed via passive or active cooling, e.g., a heat sink with or without fan, to the environment. In case such a system is not desirable, then the electrical power input to the LEDs and/or OLEDs may instead be limited, such that the heat produced by the LEDs and/or OLEDs does not raise the tissue temperature above acceptable levels.
"Solutions suggested in the prior art all intend to remove heat from the radiation emitting device to the ambient by using heat sinking, as, e.g., the flexible illuminator suggested in U.S. Pat. No. 6,290,713. However, this solution lacks efficiency when radiation emitting devices for application near mammal tissue are discretely worn under clothing, which will limit heat dissipation to the environment.
"Safety is very important with respect to medical devices, specifically also for devices that are used in direct contact with mammal tissue, such as human skin. It must be guaranteed that in case of a device failure, no risks for the user/patient are induced."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "It would be advantageous to have light emitting device for application near mammal tissue that effectively deals with heat generated by the device in a safe manner for the mammal tissue. It would further be desirable to achieve a light emitting device for application near mammal tissue that is safe for operating under clothing.
"To better address one or more of these concerns, in a first aspect of the invention a radiation emitting device for application near mammal tissue is provided, comprising a substrate having a front surface and an opposing back surface, said substrate accommodating at least one radiation source on said front surface wherein said at least one radiation source is arranged for irradiating said mammal tissue in a radiation emitting area; a heat spreading section arranged on said back surface of said substrate in thermal contact with said at least one radiation source; wherein said heat spreading section has an extended area extending beyond said substrate in a direction substantially parallel to said substrate, and wherein said extended area of said heat spreading section is arranged in thermal contact with said mammal tissue when the radiation emitting device is applied near said mammal tissue. The heat spreading section may, e.g., be a flat heat spreading section, since a suitable shape of a radiation emitting device for application near mammal tissue often is flat.
"The radiation source may be any energy source able to apply energy to said mammal tissue. In an embodiment of the invention, the radiation source is, however a light source additionally used for light therapy.
"In the context of this application, the term 'in thermal contact' refers to the ability to exchange heat energy between two systems, for example between the radiation source and the heat spreading section or between the extended area of the heat spreading section and the mammal tissue. Thermal contact does not necessarily require that the systems be in direct physical contact; there may for example be a thermally conducting material positioned in between the systems. Thermal contact established a preferred path for heat transfer between the two systems.
"Thus, a radiation emitting device is presented having a radiation emitting area irradiating the mammal tissue, e.g. human skin, and a dark area at least partially surrounding the radiation emitting area, into which dark area the extended area of the heat spreading section extends. The heat spreading section transports heat losses and residual heat from the radiation emitting area to extended area, i.e. the dark area of the device close to the skin. The thermal contact of the heat spreading section's extended area with the skin in the dark area, preferably a substantial part thereof, effectively removes heat from the 'hot' area, i.e. the radiation emitting area where the heat is generated, and reuses the heat in the 'cold' area, i.e. the dark area of the radiation emitting device, into which the heat spreading section extends via the extended area. When the radiation source is a light source, the radiation emitting area may be referred to as the light emitting area and the phrase 'the heat spreading section has an extended area extending beyond said substrate' may also be written 'the heat spreading section has an extended area extending beyond the light emitting area into the dark area'. In operation, with the radiation sources in the radiation emitting area producing both functional radiation and residual heat, the user will experience a more uniform heat distribution across a larger area of the radiation emitting device, thereby also increasing the therapeutic effect of heat on the skin. In a preferred embodiment the extended area of the heat spreading section has a size at least 25% of the size of the light emitting area. This guarantees a perceptible heat transfer to the mammal tissue in a peripheral area around the light emitting area. In more preferred embodiments, the size of the extended area of the heat spreading section is at least 50% or even at least 100% of the size of the light emitting area. An extended area of a size that large substantially contributes to additional heat transfer to the mammal tissue and substantially extends the operating area of the radiation emitting device beyond the light emitting area.
"Because a significant amount of heat can be removed from the radiation or light emitting area, a higher radiation output in terms of intensity or lumen per area can be applied without substantially increasing the skin temperature outside a safe operating window. Higher radiation output results in a more effective therapeutic treatment, and the additional residual heat is effectively removed and reused to warm up the surrounding skin, which in addition provides a synergetic effect as a therapeutic healing radiation wavelength is more effective in combination with warmth stimulation. Reuse of residual heat in radiation therapy devices is especially advantageous in applications for pain relief, where warmth, next to a therapeutically healing wavelength, provides a soothing and relaxing effect on muscles.
"The radiation emitting device may further comprise at least one additional electrical component arranged on said substrate, wherein said at least one additional electrical component also is in thermal contact with said heat spreading section. In that way, also the residue heat from the electronics may be reused. The discussed advantages of reuse of heat are thus also achieved in combination with the other electronic components in the radiation emitting device.
"The heat spreading section and the extended area thereof may also make the device intrinsically safe, due to the fact that when a malfunction occurs (e.g., short-circuit in electronics or batteries) the heat dissipation will spread out over a large surface area, reducing the speed of temperature increase, and giving the user enough time to remove the device from the body. Since the heat is directed to the body, instead of to the backside of the device, the user will feel a malfunction quickly, before any fire hazard occurs with the clothes a user may wear over the device.
"The additional electrical component may be a component chosen from the group consisting of: a battery, a microprocessor, and any other electrical equipment useful for a radiation emitting device.
"The radiation emitting device may comprise an insulating layer arranged to cover the heat spreading section, so that heat losses to the ambient atmosphere are minimized. In that way, the energy losses from the radiation source and other electronics are reused to an as high extent as possible. It also makes it irrelevant for the functioning of the device if the person wearing it has clothes covering the radiation emitting device or not. This is an advantage in the user's everyday life, as the user does not have to worry about the device or its operation when dressing or undressing in different situations, e.g. when going outside when it is cold and warm clothes are required, or when going to or from the bed, which may be frequent for a person healing from injuries. The insulating layer may be made of textile or foam or any suitable insulating material that is flexible and comfortable to use.
"The extended area of the heat spreading section may extend beyond the substrate in one particular direction or the extended area may extend beyond the substrate in all directions thereby completely surrounding the radiation or light emitting area.
"The contact of said extended area with said mammal tissue may be arranged to prevent radiation, in at least one direction parallel to said substrate, from leaking out from the device. Radiation leakage from the device may further be prevented in all directions parallel to said substrate. Radiation leakage may be annoying to a user, and may also be hazardous for the user or other persons if the radiation or light therapy is performed in the UV and/or IR domains. The discrete use of the device is also facilitated.
"The radiation source of the radiation emitting device may be a LED, an incandescent lamp, and/or a gas discharge lamp. The radiation source may be any radiation source suitable to use in a therapeutic device using radiation on mammal tissue. LEDs are preferred due to their low power usage, improving the battery time of the device and reducing the amount of residual heat that needs to be spread out and lead away from the radiation source. In one embodiment, LEDs are arranged in a two-dimensional array characterized by a regular distance between neighboring LEDs, referred to as the pitch of the array. The radiation or light emitting area may then be considered to be the continuous area covered by the array wherein this continuous area extends half of pitch distance past the peripheral LEDs.
"In case of a high power radiation source or power consuming additional electronic components, the surface area of said extended area and a thermal contact area of said extended area with said mammal tissue may be increased as a function of the amount of additional heat produced from these components and spread by said heat spreading section. The area of the heat spreading section is thus chosen to provide a sufficient heat spreading effect for the electronics and radiation source used. If more power is used in the device, e.g. due to use of an incandescent radiation source, the area of the heat spreading section and thus the device may be made larger.
"The extended area of the radiation emitting device may be made of a thermally conductive and flexible material. The heat spreading section and the device may then be wrapped around, e.g. an arm, following the contours of the body, increasing the comfort of wearing the device, while at the same time increasing the contact area to the mammal tissue used for spreading the heat from the radiation source and electronic components. The extended area may further be made of a light weight material to improve the user experience, reducing the awareness of the user for the (additional) weight of the device, and thus increase the comfort of wearing the device.
"The radiation emitting device may be used on any mammal, e.g. a human. The same effects and most of the advantages are, however, also gained when the device is used for any mammal animal treated with radiation therapy.
"In a further aspect of the invention a method of radiation mammal tissue is provided wherein the mammal tissue is irradiated with radiation from at least one radiation source and thermal energy from the at least one radiation source is spread to an extended area of a heat spreading section and thermally conducted from at least part of the extended area of the heat spreading section to the mammal tissue. In a preferred embodiment the radiation source is a light source emitting both light and heat to the mammal tissue.
"The advantages attributed to features of the light emitting device described above vis-a-vis apply to the method described in this paragraph and include amongst others a increased heat spreading area, maximum reuse of residual heat and a larger action area (i.e. effectively treated mammal tissue area) of the radiation therapy.
"It is noted that the invention relates to all possible combinations of features recited in the claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"The above objects, as well as additional objects, features and advantages of the present invention, will be more fully appreciated by reference to the following illustrative and non-limiting detailed description of preferred embodiments of the present invention, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
"FIG. 1 shows a cross sectional view of a radiation emitting device according to an embodiment of the invention.
"FIG. 2 shows a top view of the radiation emitting device according to an embodiment of the invention.
"As illustrated in the figures, the sizes of layers and regions are exaggerated for illustrative purposes and, thus, are provided to illustrate the general structures of embodiments of the present invention. Like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout."
URL and more information on this patent application, see: Uitbeijerse, Bastiann; Calon,
Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Therapy, Electronic Components.
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