Efficient tissue ablation using a laser tunable in the water absorption band at 3 microns with little collateral damage

Alexandra Nierlich*, Danail Chuchumishev, Elizabeth Nagel, Kristiana Marinova, Stanislav Philipov, Torsten Fiebig, Ivan Buchvarov, Claus-Peter Richter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Lasers can significantly advance medical diagnostics and treatment. At high power, they are typically used as cutting tools during surgery. For lasers that are used as knifes, radiation wavelengths in the far ultraviolet and in the near infrared spectral regions are favored because tissue has high contents of collagen and water. Collagen has an absorption peak around 190 nm, while water is in the near infrared around 3,000 nm. Changing the wavelength across the absorption peak will result in significant differences in laser tissue interactions. Tunable lasers in the infrared that could optimize the laser tissue interaction for ablation and/or coagulation are not available until now besides the Free Electron Laser (FEL). Here we demonstrate efficient tissue ablation using a table-top mid-IR laser tunable between 3,000 to 3,500 nm. A detailed study of the ablation has been conducted in different tissues. Little collateral thermal damage has been found at a distance above 10-20 microns from the ablated surface. Furthermore, little mechanical damage could be seen in conventional histology and by examination of birefringent activity of the samples using a pair of cross polarizing filters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics X
ISBN (Print)9780819498397
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
EventPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics X - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 1 2014Feb 2 2014


OtherPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics X
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • Ablation
  • Laser
  • Laser-tissue interaction
  • Near-infrared
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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