Infrared radiometry of dental enamel during Er:YAG and Er:YSGG laser irradiation

Daniel Fried*, Steven R. Visuri, John D.B. Featherstone, Joseph T. Walsh, Wolf Seka, Richard E. Glena, Sandra M. McCormack, Harvey A. Wigdor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Time-resolved infrared (IR) radiometry was used to measure surface temperatures during pulsed Er:YSGG (λ=2.79 μm) and Er:YAG (λ=2.94 μm) laser irradiation of dental enamel. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to determine the melting and vaporization thresholds and to characterize other changes in the surface morphology. The magnitude and temporal evolution of the surface temperature during multiple-pulse irradiation of the tissue was dependent on the wavelength, fluence, and pre-exposure to laser pulses. Radiometry and SEM micrographs indicate that ablation is initiated at temperatures well below the melting and vaporization temperatures of the carbonated hydroxyapatite mineral component (1200 °C). Ablation occurred at lower surface temperatures and at lower fluences for Er:YAG than for Er:YSGG laser irradiation: 400 °C vs. 800 °C and above 7 J/cm2 vs. 18 J/cm2, respectively. However, the measured surface temperatures were higher at λ=2.79 μm than at λ=2.94 μm during low fluence irradiation (<7 J/cm2). Spatially dependent absorption in the enamel matrix is proposed to explain this apparent contradiction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-465
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Dental enamel
  • Er:YAG laser irradiation
  • Er:YSGG laser irradiation
  • Laser ablation
  • Radiometry
  • Surface temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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