Calibration-free pulse oximetry based on two wavelengths in the infrared - A preliminary study

Meir Nitzan, Salman Noach, Elias Tobal, Yair Adar, Yaacov Miller, Eran Shalom, Shlomo Engelberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The assessment of oxygen saturation in arterial blood by pulse oximetry (SpO2) is based on the different light absorption spectra for oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin and the analysis of photoplethysmographic (PPG) signals acquired at two wavelengths. Commercial pulse oximeters use two wavelengths in the red and infrared regions which have different pathlengths and the relationship between the PPG-derived parameters and oxygen saturation in arterial blood is determined by means of an empirical calibration. This calibration results in an inherent error, and pulse oximetry thus has an error of about 4%, which is too high for some clinical problems. We present calibration-free pulse oximetry for measurement of SpO2, based on PPG pulses of two nearby wavelengths in the infrared. By neglecting the difference between the path-lengths of the two nearby wavelengths, SpO2 can be derived from the PPG parameters with no need for calibration. In the current study we used three laser diodes of wavelengths 780, 785 and 808 nm, with narrow spectral line-width. SaO2 was calculated by using each pair of PPG signals selected from the three wavelengths. In measurements on healthy subjects, SpO2 values, obtained by the 780-808 nm wavelength pair were found to be in the normal range. The measurement of SpO2 by two nearby wavelengths in the infrared with narrow line-width enables the assessment of SpO2 without calibration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7420-7434
Number of pages15
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number4
StatePublished - 23 Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Arterial blood
  • Calibration
  • Diode lasers
  • Infrared
  • Oxygen saturation
  • Pulse oximetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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