“Lasers in Medicine” – Sophomore Introductory Seminar

OPHT 108Q, Class Number 26822
Instructor: Daniel Palanker

During the last two decades lasers have penetrated into most of the fields of medicine and in many cases have revolutionized the way we diagnose and treat patients. They also have become an indispensable tool in experimental biology with applications ranging from the high-resolution microscopy to cell surgery. What makes lasers so effective? This course will provide an insight into the world of medical lasers reviewing such issues as: Why lasers? How do lasers work? How does light interact with matter and in particular with biological tissue? We will survey various applications of lasers in medicine and biology including three major categories: Therapeutic (from cell surgery to vision correction and cosmetic surgery), Diagnostic (from detection of neural cell activity to diagnostics of cancer), and Imaging (from single molecules to optical tomography).
The course will assume an interest in basic physics and medicine although no specific prerequisites are required. Motivated students from any discipline should be able to keep up with the technological aspects of the course and will develop most of the necessary technical concepts on the spot.

Freshman calculus and basic physics knowledge are recommended but not strictly required.

“Fundamentals of Physics” by David Halliday, R. Resnick and J. Walker.
“Optics” by Eugene Hecht; “Laser-Tissue Interactions” by Markolf Niemz; “Lasers in Medicine” by Ronald Waynant

Grading Basis
Research paper

3:15 – 4:45 pm Mondays and Wednesdays

Room 101 in HEPL bldg

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Tentative Schedule

Lecture 1.
Introduction, wave motion; plane, spherical and cylindrical waves.

Lecture 2.
Electromagnetic theory, electromagnetic waves, energy and momentum of radiation.

Lecture 3.
Dipole emission, emission and absorption by atoms and molecules, black body radiation, electromagnetic spectrum

Lecture 4.
Propagation of light: reflection, refraction, scattering, interference and diffraction.

Lecture 5.
Geometrical optics, fiberoptics.

Lecture 6.
Microscopy and limits of resolution, mechanisms of contrast.

Lecture 7.
Eye and vision, perception of color.

Lecture 8.
Spontaneous and stimulated emission, principle of laser, cavity modes,
lasing media, pumping mechanisms, continuous and pulsed regimes.

Lecture 9.
Mechanisms of laser-tissue interactions I: Photochemical. Photodynamic therapy, photostimulation, cytotoxicity of UV light.

Lecture 10.
Mechanisms of laser-tissue interactions II: Photothermal. Heat conduction and distribution. Thermal damage to tissue.

Lecture 11.
Mechanisms of laser-tissue interactions III: Photomechanical. Explosive evaporation, shock and acoustic waves, cavitation, jet formation.

Lecture 12.
Mechanisms of laser-tissue interactions IV: Dielectric breakdown, plasma-mediated ablation.

Lecture 13.
Laser laboratory

Lecture 14.
Lasers in Ophthalmology. Refractive surgery, intrastromal ablation, coagulation, capsulorexis, trabeculoplasty, vitreoretinal surgery.

Lecture 15.
Lasers in Dermatology. Shrinking of collagen, hair and tattoo removal, PDT, Port Wine stains removal.

Lecture 16.
Lasers in General Surgery, Cardiovascular, Gynecology, Tissue welding. Low power lasers.

Lecture 17.
Micromanipulation and cell surgery. Laser tweezers, dissection of chromosomes, laser poration, optical catapulting, in-vitro fertilization.

Lecture 18.
Lasers in Imaging: Confocal, multiphoton and near-field microscopy, Optical Coherence Tomography.

Lecture 19.
Diagnostic applications: Autofluorescence, Raman spectroscopy, Scattering Light Spectroscopy, Oximetry, Doppler velocimetry.

Lecture 20.
Electrosurgery: Mechanisms of interaction and tissue damage. Pros and cons vs. laser surgery.

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