Fast-pulsed lasers have become fairly ubiquitous in biology and medicine today. Their special properties allow for unique ways to manipulate tissue, both in the fields of surgery and research. Additionally, they have made multiphoton imaging possible, which combines extremely high resolution with very little demand for sample preparation and a highly specific signal that is well separated from the incident wavelength. Using femtosecond laser pulses to precisely cut parts of the eye has become a routine procedure, but there are several new applications for these laser systems undergoing research right now. This site aims at providing a basic understanding of the principles of ultrafast pulse generation and introduces several current topics in ultrafast laser research as applied to the biomedical sector.
About This Site
This site is divided into four sections.
- Home - you are here.
- Ultrafast Laser Basics gives a very short recap of how basic lasers work, and provides a brief introduction to the physical principles required to generate ultrafast laser pulses. Given the scope of this assignment/site, it is by no means intended as a complete reference. A basic level of understanding in the areas of optics and nuclear physics is presupposed.
- Applications discusses novel applications for shortpulse lasers in the context of medicine and biology.
- Conclusions discusses problems associated with these laser systems and indicates areas where future research may improve current systems.
About the Header Picture
The picture shows a computer simulation of a femtosecond pulse interacting with a plasma, causing free electrons to accelerate rapidly. In this case, a single pulse generated by the BELLA laser creates a wake field which accelerates the electrons during a wakefield experiment at Berkeley Labs. A similar process occurs several thousand times per second during Laser Induced Optical Breakdown (LIOB), the physical effect that creates the ultrafast laser "cuts".