Researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) have developed a ceramic-based laser with possible applications for surgical scalpels, as well as for cutting and engraving composite materials. The researchers used lutetium oxide with thulium ions to create the laser that converts energy into radiation with an efficiency higher than 50% (other solid-state lasers have an average of about 20%). The infrared radiation wavelength is only about two microns, which is what makes it suitable for medical procedures.
According to the article, Ivan Obronov, researcher at MIPT, said “Radiation from the most common infrared lasers, with a wavelength of about one micron, [have] very little absorption and penetrate deep into biological tissue, which causes coagulation and large areas of ‘dead’ tissue. A surgical scalpel needs to ‘operate’ at a very specific depth, which is why two-micron lasers are used, as they do not damage underlying tissue.” According to Obronov, the two-micron lasers usually employed by surgeons are expensive, cumbersome, and not reliable. Ceramic lasers, on the other hand, are cheaper to produce, more reliable, and more compact, leading the researchers to believe they will be successful in the medical field.
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