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World's Tiniest Radiometer To Power Medical Scanner

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the good-weekend-for-it dept.

Medicine 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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37 comments

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You (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#32789106)

You want to put what where?

Re:You (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32789206)

They really should be working on the worlds smallest violin...

Re:You (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32789310)

I think I can hear it now.

Re:You (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32789344)

I think I can hear it now.

Niggers!

Hear that? It's the sound of moderators tripping over themselves to be the first to mod this down.

Re:You (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32789476)

Niggers! Niggers and Spics! Sounds like a new dog food...

Here comes another moderator stampede... WHEEEEEE!

Re:You (1)

therealobsideus (1610557) | more than 4 years ago | (#32789482)

Even when I was an Anonymous Coward, I never used such foul language. Le sigh

Re:You (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32789568)

Your a fucking Nigger you shit colored monkey.

Re:You (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32789540)

White staplers staple like this, and black staplers staple like that! Am I right?

Hipsters to good use! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32789322)

They put hipsters to good use:

The store [where they got the idea] is a frequent hangout for area hipsters with vegan soft-serve ice cream, two-headed baby dolls and walls covered in bizarre toys.

Also, I'm sure if you sell this as new age light healing/sensor crystal tech they will be the first to sign up for clinical trials for free ;->

Re:You (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32791204)

We'll travel a billion light years to stick it in some alien's ass as revenge.

All I saw.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32789196)

All I saw was "Lasers" and "Organs." Laser eyeballs? SIGN ME UP!!!!

Re:All I saw.... (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#32790920)

All I saw was "Lasers" and "Organs." Laser eyeballs? SIGN ME UP!!!!

If that's all you saw, you might be eligible for 'em.

Powered via a cable (3, Insightful)

thms (1339227) | more than 4 years ago | (#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

Re:Powered via a cable (4, Funny)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32789350)

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.

So by reading the fine article you answered your own question.

Re:Powered via a cable (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32789416)

This RTFAing must stop! And flaunting about it is even worse, this will encourage others and become the doom of Slashdot!

Re:Powered via a cable (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792256)

So by reading the fine article you answered your own question.

He was just documenting one of the first explorations of The Fine Article that a Slashdot inhabitant has ever made, so that others of us might be able to learn from his experiences. I was intrigued by how his initial "well that's dumb" thought was actually addressed by the article. It shows that reading The Fine Article that is so often spoken of might offer something new, untapped. I hope other daring Slashdot inhabitants venture into this new territory in the near future.

Re:Powered via a cable (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32789614)

My pee pee smells like poo poo.

Re:Powered via a cable (2, Funny)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#32789714)

This points out a need to revise the expression "where the sun doesn't shine."

Re:Powered via a cable (2, Interesting)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 4 years ago | (#32790310)

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.

Also, the optical approach means that the concept can be adapted for use while the patient is inside an MRI. Wire-free is often handy when you're building neat toys for medical use.

I'm sad though, everyone seems to have missed the best line. This new device is a power source, right?

... he hopes the micromotor will eventually find uses in cancer imaging.

"It has yet to realize its full potential," said Condit.

Get it? Get it? Oh, c'mon, the pun wasn't THAT bad...

Re:Powered via a cable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32810180)

I have knowledge of lawsuits, when current in wires got hot enough to melt a catheter, causing severe burns. Attorneys for both sides were looking to find electrical engineers and materials specialists to help them place blame on the medical device.

Maybe that's why some people are looking for ways to avoid putting electric wires into a catheter?

Nanotech switches (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32789296)

Imagine a little rotating mirror on a chip of some kind. A photon hits it. The mirror flips into a different state and the photon goes off in a particular direction. Another photon hits it. The mirror flips again and the photon goes off in a different direction. In each case you can selectively flip the mirror back to restore the state of that "bit".

Sound good? Can we make it faster and smaller than working with electrons?

Re:Nanotech switches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32789692)

Photos appear in the same state regardless of the perspective of the observer. There's no flippping. Learn your quantum mechanics, home-schooler.

Actually, I just made that up. Flip all you want! I was home schooled by an Amish cleric.

Re:Nanotech switches (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#32790934)

A photon hits it. The mirror flips into a different state and the photon goes off in a particular direction. Another photon hits it. The mirror flips again.

That's wonderful. Now we just need some big machine to examine the state of the mirror, aim the photons in the right direction, generate photons, etc. Wait, this might be a little bigger than nano-scale...

But they're NOT radiometers! (5, Informative)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 4 years ago | (#32789314)

The "common toy" is not a radiometer. It's a heat engine. The bulb is only partially evacuated and the hotter, black side of the vanes heats up the gas molecules, which then bounce off it with increased vigor, compared to the white side. So the vanes spin with the white side going forward.

A true radiometer would be bouncing photons off the white side, and spinning with the black side leading.

The heat-engine version has many times the efficiency of the photon one.

 

Re:But they're NOT radiometers! (4, Informative)

chgros (690878) | more than 4 years ago | (#32789722)

This led me to look at the wikipedia article for "radiometer".
A radiometer measures the strength of the radiation; whether the measurable effect is caused by heat or anything else is not relevant as long as it's proportional to the quantity being measured; in that sense the common toy *is* a radiometer.
As for the reason it moves, it turns out it's more complicated than that.

Re:But they're NOT radiometers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32791582)

Actually this is also wrong (albeit not as wrong as the photon impulse theory). Even though the black side is hotter, the gas density will be proportionally lower. These effects cancel any pressure difference.

There is only one exception along the edge of the vane. Maxwell and Einstein actually figured out that there are two types of forces acting on this edge. Maxwell thought of the so-called thermal creep and Einstein of a force that is caused by the temperature gradient on the edge of the vane.

I believe, though, that there is still "debate" (for as much as people bother) over what exactly happens.

Smallest radiometer? Not at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32789324)

There are thousands of radiometers that are under 2 mm across. I have built some of them.

I think the submitter and author of TFA do not know what a radiometer is.

Re:Smallest radiometer? Not at all. (3, Funny)

BuzzSkyline (905506) | more than 4 years ago | (#32789472)

They meant a Crookes Radiometer.

But... (2, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#32789488)

eliminating the need to run potentially risky electrical currents into the body.

But.. But.. The fine folks at Taser International Inc say there is no risk!

I'm confused.

Benefits of higher quality images (1)

carlzum (832868) | more than 4 years ago | (#32789520)

Like many of us, I've had a parent undergo heart surgery. I don't recall concerns about cath's electricity, but I know today's technology fails to detect atherosclerosis (artery thickening) until very late stages. If this can deliver "high quality, 3D-images from inside arteries and blood vessels" it could prevent heart attacks and open heart surgery. Don't get me wrong, coronary catheterization has helped this generation survive heart disease and enjoy a better quality of life. But "stress tests" and family history are the only tools doctor's have today to help diagnosis this type of heart disease. I hope this leads to better tools.

Pass the lube... (3, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#32789592)

The devices would replace micromotors in conventional catheter-based scanners, eliminating the need to run potentially risky electrical currents into the body.

You had me at "catheter" and "electrical current".

Re:Pass the lube... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32790096)

Rule 34 [smartstim.com]

Re:Pass the lube... (2, Funny)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791540)

The devices would replace micromotors in conventional catheter-based scanners, eliminating the need to run potentially risky electrical currents into the body.

You had me at "catheter" and "electrical current".

If that's what you're in to. They had me at "replace".

a spinning, laser powered catheter? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32789624)

Look, I know it doesn't literally spin.

But the analogy needs to be rethought. Because, the Crooke's thing, a laser, and my urethra don't sound compatible.

sigh. some intelligent people should really be reclassified as savants.

Re:a spinning, laser powered catheter? (2, Informative)

BuzzSkyline (905506) | more than 4 years ago | (#32789742)

It does, literally, spin. Look at the video.

Re:a spinning, laser powered catheter? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32803602)

Because, the Crooke's thing, a laser, and my urethra don't sound compatible.

You forgot to mention putting it all in a delicate glass bulb before shoving it into your urethra. But leaving that aside, WIMP !

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