A guidewire with optical sensing capabilities is based on a multiplexed optical coherence domain reflectometer (OCDR), which allows it to sense location, thickness, and structure of the arterial walls or other intra-cavity regions as it travels through the body during minimally invasive medical procedures. This information will be used both to direct the guidewire through the body by detecting vascular junctions and to evaluate the nearby tissue. The guidewire contains multiple optical fibers which couple light from the proximal to distal end. Light from the fibers at the distal end of the guidewire is directed onto interior cavity walls via small diameter optics such as gradient index lenses and mirrored corner cubes. Both forward viewing and side viewing fibers can be included. The light reflected or scattered from the cavity walls is then collected by the fibers, which are multiplexed at the proximal end to the sample arm of an optical low coherence reflectometer. The guidewire can also be used in nonmedical applications.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.