An acoustic focusing device whose acoustic waves are generated by laser radiation through an optical fiber. The acoustic energy is capable of efficient destruction of renal and biliary calculi and deliverable to the site of the calculi via an endoscopic procedure. The device includes a transducer tip attached to the distal end of an optical fiber through which laser energy is directed. The transducer tip encapsulates an exogenous absorbing dye. Under proper irradiation conditions (high absorbed energy density, short pulse duration) a stress wave is produced via thermoelastic expansion of the absorber for the destruction of the calculi. The transducer tip can be configured into an acoustic lens such that the transmitted acoustic wave is shaped or focused. Also, compressive stress waves can be reflected off a high density/low density interface to invert the compressive wave into a tensile stress wave, and tensile stresses may be more effective in some instances in disrupting material as most materials are weaker in tension than compression. Estimations indicate that stress amplitudes provided by this device can be magnified more than 100 times, greatly improving the efficiency of optical energy for targeted material destruction.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.