Modelling millimetre wave propagation and absorption in a high resolution skin model: the effect of sweat glands

Phys Med Biol. 2011 Mar 7;56(5):1329-39. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/56/5/007. Epub 2011 Feb 4.


The aim of this work was to investigate the potential effect of sweat gland ducts (SGD) on specific absorption rate (SAR) and temperature distributions during mm-wave irradiation. High resolution electromagnetic and bio-heat transfer models of human skin with SGD were developed using a commercially available simulation software package (SEMCAD X™). The skin model consisted of a 30 µm stratum corneum, 350 µm epidermis and papillary dermis (EPD) and 1000 µm dermis. Five SGD of 60 µm radius and 300 µm height were embedded linearly with 370 µm separation. A WR-10 waveguide positioned 20 µm from the skin surface and delivering 94 GHz electromagnetic radiation was included in the model. Saline conductivity was assigned inside SGD. SAR and temperatures were computed with and without SGD. Despite their small scale, SAR was significantly higher within SGD than in the EPD without SGD. Without SGD, SAR and temperature maxima were in the dermis near EPD. With SGD, SAR maximum was inside SGD while temperature maximum moved to the EPD/stratum-corneum junction. Since the EPD participates actively in perception, the effect of SGD should be taken into account in nociceptive studies involving mm-waves. This research represents a significant step towards higher spatial resolution numerical modelling of the skin and shows that microstructures can play a significant role in mm-wave absorption and induced temperature distributions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Sweat Glands / radiation effects*
  • Temperature