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1. (WO2008086614) ELECTROSTATICALLY DRIVEN IMAGING PROBE
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THEREFORE WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. Electrostatically driven imaging probe, comprising:
a) an elongate hollow catheter sheath having distal front and back sections and an elongate proximal section and having a diameter suitable to permit insertion of the elongate hollow catheter sheath into bodily lumens and cavities, the distal back section containing an electrically dissipative polymer sealed therein which is wrapped by a metal coil which is connected to ground potential and a trigger circuit;
b) imaging means located in said distal front section for emitting energy and receiving energy reflected back from interior surfaces of said bodily lumens and cavities, said distal front section containing a medium sealed therein which is transparent to said energy emitted by the imaging means, said imaging means being connected to an imaging conduit which extends through a proximal end of the elongate hollow catheter sheath and being connected to an image processing and display system, said imaging conduit being enveloped by metal and a portion of the metal enveloped imaging conduit in the distal front section forming a cantilever; and
c) an elongate electrode located in the elongate hollow catheter sheath having an elongate uninsulated electrode section located in said front distal section, the elongate electrode being connected to a high voltage power supply, wherein in operation when a high voltage is applied to the elongate electrode the cantilever is electrically attracted to the elongate uninsulated electrode section and undergoes deflection towards the elongate uninsulated electrode section and upon contacting the elongate uninsulated electrode section the portion of the metal enveloped imaging conduit in the distal front section acquires an electrical charge from the elongate uninsulated electrode section thereby causing the metal enveloped imaging conduit in the distal front section to be repelled therefrom thereby causing the imaging means to scan the field of view.

2. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 1 wherein said imaging conduit is an optical fiber and wherein said imaging means includes optical radiation emitted from an end portion of said optical fiber located in said distal front section, said optical fiber being optically coupled to a source of optical radiation through said proximal end of the elongate hollow catheter sheath.

3. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 1 wherein said imaging means is an ultrasound transducer located in said distal front section for emitting ultrasound signals and detecting reflected ultrasound signals, and wherein said imaging conduit is a coaxial electrical cable electrically connected to said ultrasound transducer at one end and to a power supply through said proximal end of the elongate hollow catheter sheath at another end thereof.

4. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 2 wherein said imaging means includes focusing optics located in a distal end portion of said distal front section for directing and focusing light emitted from said optical fiber and collecting light reflected back into said distal front section.

5. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 4 wherein said focusing optics includes a GRIN lens mounted in the distal end portion of said distal front section.

6. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 4 wherein said focusing optics includes a ball lens attached to end portion of said optical fiber.

7. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 4 wherein said focusing optics includes an axicon lens attached to the end portion of said optical fiber.

8. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 3 wherein said ultrasound sensor has a shaped end face for focusing the emitted ultrasound signals.

9. The electrostatic imaging probe according to claim 1 including a ground electrode having an uninsulated section located in one or both of said distal front and back sections connected to said electrical ground potential wherein when said cantilever comes into physical contact with said ground electrode it quickly dissipates all of its acquired charge upon contact and is therefore immediately available to be attracted to the elongate electrode once again so that said cantilever can undergo rapid oscillation.

10. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 1 including a rotational drive mechanism such that both the distal front and back sections of the electrostatically driven imaging probe are rotated such that the scanning of the cantilever encompasses a two dimensional area in said bodily lumens and cavities in front of said distal front section .

11. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 1 including at least one additional elongate electrode located in said distal front section connected to said high voltage power supply.

12. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 11 wherein said high voltage power supply is configured to apply time varying electrical potentials independently to said elongate electrode and to said at least one additional elongate electrode to give a desired scanning motion of the cantilever.

13. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 12 wherein said high voltage power supply is configured to hold any one of said elongate electrode and said at least one additional elongate electrode at ground potential.

14. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 12 wherein said at least one additional elongate electrode is three (3) additional elongate electrodes each connected to said high voltage power supply.

15. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 9 wherein said uninsulated section of said ground electrode is located soley inside said dissipative polymer such that it is not in direct contact with said media in the distal front section.

16. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 9 wherein said uninsulated section of said ground electrode is located soley inside said distal front section.

17. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 9 wherein said uninsulated section of said ground electrode is located in both said distal front and back sections

18. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 1 wherein said dissipative polymer is selected from the group consisting of antistatic molecules blended with polymers, and conductive particles blended with conventional insulating polymers.

19. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 1 wherein said dissipative polymer is Polyamide/Polyether Block Copolymer (Pebax)™.

20. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 1 wherein said medium sealed in said distal front section is selected from the group consisting of fluids and vacuum.

21. The electrostatically driven imaging probe according to claim 20 wherein said medium sealed in said distal front section is a fluid having a pre-selected viscosity for damping oscillatory motion of the cantilever to give pre-selected scanning speeds.

22. Electrostatically driven imaging probe, comprising:
a) an elongate hollow catheter sheath having distal front and back sections and an elongate proximal section and having a diameter suitable to permit insertion of the elongate hollow catheter sheath into bodily lumens and cavities, the distal back section containing an electrically dissipative polymer sealed therein which is wrapped by a metal coil which is connected to ground potential and a trigger circuit;
b) imaging means located in said distal front section for emitting energy and receiving energy reflected back from interior surfaces of said bodily lumens and cavities, said distal front section containing a medium sealed therein which is transparent to said energy emitted by the imaging means, said imaging means being connected to an imaging conduit which extends through a proximal end of the elongate hollow catheter sheath and being connected to an image processing and display system;
c) a conductive, reflective disc pivotally mounted about a pivot axis in said front distal section and electrically coupled to said electrically dissipative polymer, said reflective member being positioned to receive and reflect said energy from said imaging means, and to receive and reflect said energy reflected back from interior surfaces of said bodily lumens and cavities back to said imaging means;
d) a ground electrode having an uninsulated section located in said distal front section connected to said electrical ground potential; and
e) an elongate electrode located in the elongate hollow catheter sheath having an elongate uninsulated electrode section located in said front distal section, the elongate electrode being connected to a high voltage power supply, wherein in operation when a high voltage is applied to the elongate electrode the conductive, reflective disc is electrically attracted to the elongate uninsulated electrode section causing said conductive, reflective disc to pivot about said pivot axis in one direction causing an outer edge off said conductive, reflective disc to tilt towards said elongate electrode and upon contact with said elongate electrode said conductive, reflective disc acquires charge from said elongate electrode causing it to be repelled thereby resulting in the conductive, reflective disc to pivot towards said ground electrode, and upon contact of said conductive, reflective disk with said ground electrode the conductive, reflective disk loses its charge resulting in its ability to once again be attracted to said electrode.