Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

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

17.03.2008
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:
http://www.missouri.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht From China to the South Pole: Joining forces to solve the neutrino mass puzzle
25.02.2020 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Beyond the brim, Sombrero Galaxy's halo suggests turbulent past
21.02.2020 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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: High-pressure scientists in Bayreuth discover promising material for information technology

Researchers at the University of Bayreuth have discovered an unusual material: When cooled down to two degrees Celsius, its crystal structure and electronic properties change abruptly and significantly. In this new state, the distances between iron atoms can be tailored with the help of light beams. This opens up intriguing possibilities for application in the field of information technology. The scientists have presented their discovery in the journal "Angewandte Chemie - International Edition". The new findings are the result of close cooperation with partnering facilities in Augsburg, Dresden, Hamburg, and Moscow.

The material is an unusual form of iron oxide with the formula Fe₅O₆. The researchers produced it at a pressure of 15 gigapascals in a high-pressure laboratory...

Im Focus: From China to the South Pole: Joining forces to solve the neutrino mass puzzle

Study by Mainz physicists indicates that the next generation of neutrino experiments may well find the answer to one of the most pressing issues in neutrino physics

Among the most exciting challenges in modern physics is the identification of the neutrino mass ordering. Physicists from the Cluster of Excellence PRISMA+ at...

Im Focus: Therapies without drugs

Fraunhofer researchers are investigating the potential of microimplants to stimulate nerve cells and treat chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease. Find out what makes this form of treatment so appealing and which challenges the researchers still have to master.

A study by the Robert Koch Institute has found that one in four women will suffer from weak bladders at some point in their lives. Treatments of this condition...

Im Focus: A step towards controlling spin-dependent petahertz electronics by material defects

The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.

Light waves perform several hundred trillion oscillations per second. Hence, it is natural to envision employing light oscillations to drive the electronic...

Im Focus: Freiburg researcher investigate the origins of surface texture

Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.

Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting: Around 70 Laureates set to meet with young scientists from approx. 100 countries

12.02.2020 | Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Turbomachine expander offers efficient, safe strategy for heating, cooling

25.02.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

The seismicity of Mars

25.02.2020 | Earth Sciences

Cancer cachexia: Extracellular ligand helps to prevent muscle loss

25.02.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>