Rotating catheter probe using a light-drive apparatus
The invention is a rotating tip catheter-imaging probe where electromagnetic energy is delivered to the distal end of a catheter and converted to mechanical energy using a light drive apparatus. The mechanical energy is then used to rotate a mirror that redirects light in fixed pattern on a sample. The rotating element of the light drive apparatus contains vanes, which rotate about an axis and positioned with bearings to minimize friction. A chamber encompasses the rotating element and is set to a vacuum pressure. The rotational speed of the catheter tip can be controlled by varying the optical power delivered to the vanes, the vacuum pressure in the chamber, or by a braking mechanism applied to the rotating element. The vanes may be shaped in a particular geometry to increase forces on the vanes from thermally driven gas flow.