Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Ultra-fast, ultra-intense laser has clean-cut advantage

MU laser lab will enable researchers to change the face of medicine

Many people equate lasers with a sci-fi battle in a galaxy far, far away or, closer to home, with grocery store scanners and compact disc players. However, an ultra-fast, ultra-intense laser, or UUL, with laser pulse durations of one quadrillionth of a second, otherwise known as one femtosecond, could change cancer treatments, dentistry procedures, precision metal cutting, and joint implant surgeries.

“The femtosecond laser has now entered the era of applications. It used to be a novelty, a fantasy,” said University of Missouri researcher Robert Tzou, the James C. Dowell professor and chairman of the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. “We are currently targeting the areas of life-science and bio-medicine.”

What makes the femtosecond laser different from other lasers is its unique capacity to interact with its target without transferring heat to the area surrounding its mark. The intensity of the power gets the job done while the speed ensures heat does not spread. Results are clean cuts, strong welds and precision destruction of very small targets, such as cancer cells, with no injury to surrounding materials. Tzou hopes that the laser would essentially eliminate the need for harmful chemical therapy used in cancer treatments.

“If we have a way to use the lasers to kill cancer cells without even touching the surrounding healthy cells, that is a tremendous benefit to the patient,” Tzou said. “Basically, the patient leaves the clinic immediately after treatment with no side effects or damage. The high precision and high efficiency of the UUL allows for immediate results.”

Practical applications of this type of laser also include, but aren’t limited to, the ability to create super-clean channels in a silicon chip. That process can allow doctors to analyze blood one cell at a time as cells flow through the channel. The laser can be used in surgery to make more precise incisions that heal faster and cause less collateral tissue damage. In dentistry, the laser can treat tooth decay without harming the rest of the tooth structure.

Associate Professor Yuwen Zhang and Professor Jinn-Kuen Chen recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to use the laser to “sinter” metal powders—turn them into a solid, yet porous, mass using heat but without massive liquefaction—a process which can help improve the bond between joint implants and bone.

“With the laser, we can melt a very thin strip around titanium micro- and nanoparticles and ultimately control the porosity of the bridge connecting the bone and the alloy,” Zhang said. “The procedure allows the particles to bond strongly, conforming to the two different surfaces.”

Tzou said the installation of a new laser laboratory at MU will enable research teams to “aggressively pursue success at a national level.” The femtosecond laser lab, components of which were installed in January, was made possible through a gift from engineering alumnus Bill Thompson and his wife Nancy. Tzou noted that the arrival of the lab at MU has initiated additional funding requests that will utilize the new femtosecond laser in research. Zhang, Chen and engineering professor Frank Feng also were the recipients of a United States Department of Defense grant to research possible military applications of the UUL.

Tzou said most research with femtosecond lasers, thus far, has focused on engineering materials such as metals and semiconductors. Because of the unique infrastructure at MU, where the college of engineering and the medical school are located on the same campus, Tzou has been able to attract faculty members who have renowned expertise in medicine and laser technology to collaborate.

Bryan E. Jones | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie

nachricht Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>