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Medicine Power Science Technology

World's Tiniest Radiometer To Power Medical Scanner 37

BuzzSkyline writes "University of Texas physicists have built the world's smallest radiometer. The minuscule radiometer is only 2 millimeters across and operates on the same principles as the common light-driven toy, which consists of spinning black and white vanes in a partially evacuated bulb. The researchers attached a mirror to their tiny radiometer and used it to rapidly scan a laser beam. Their hope is that they will be able to incorporate the radiometer into catheters to drive scanners that produce medical images of the interiors of blood vessels and organs. The devices would replace micromotors in conventional catheter-based scanners, eliminating the need to run potentially risky electrical currents into the body."
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World's Tiniest Radiometer To Power Medical Scanner

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  • by thms ( 1339227 ) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @08:40PM (#32789242)

    At first this "Because there's obviously no sunlight in the body, this light-mill pulls its power from a laser run up through the center of the catheter." seemed rather silly. When you already have a cable why not use that to get all the power you want? But later on the articles mentions that blood vessels really don't like anything above one volt. Other generators/motors (applying an alternating external magnetic field maybe) produce too much voltage already, so producing the power via photons is a safe alternative.

    On a related note, I wonder how far the tech for burning blood sugar in a fuel cell is, that would allow for long independent operation of tiny devices and since nothing rotates should scale low wrt. voltage

The road to ruin is always in good repair, and the travellers pay the expense of it. -- Josh Billings