Photothermal properties of shape memory polymer micro-actuators for treating stroke*


  • *

    This study was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract W-7405-ENG-48.


Background and Objectives

In this paper the photothermal engineering issues of novel shape memory polymer (SMP) microactuators for treating stroke are presented. The engineering issues for using lasers to heat and subsequently actuate these SMP devices are presented in order to provide design criteria and guidelines for intravascular, laser activated SMP devices.

Materials and Methods

A total of three devices will be presented: two interventional ischemic stroke devices (coil and umbrella) and one device for releasing embolic coils (microgripper). The optical properties of SMP, methods for coupling laser light into SMP, heating distributions in the SMP devices, and the impact of operating the thermally activated material in a blood vessel are presented.


Actuating the devices requires device temperatures in the range of 65–85°C. Attaining these temperatures under flow conditions requires critical engineering of the SMP optical properties, optical coupling into the SMP, and device geometries.


Laser-activated SMP devices are a unique combination of laser-tissue and biomaterial technologies. Successful deployment of the microactuator requires well-engineered coupling of the light from the diffusing fiber through the blood into the SMP. Lasers Surg. Med. 30:1–11, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.