Researchers at the University of Missouri are testing practical applications of a UUL (Ultra-fast, Ultra-intense Laser), or femtosecond laser. Because it’s pulses last one quadrillionth of a second, there is little transfer of heat to the areas surrounding the target. Quoted:
What makes the femtosecond laser different from other lasers is its unique capacity to interact with its target without transferring heat to the area surrounding its mark. The intensity of the power gets the job done while the speed ensures heat does not spread. Results are clean cuts, strong welds and precision destruction of very small targets, such as cancer cells, with no injury to surrounding materials. Tzou hopes that the laser would essentially eliminate the need for harmful chemical therapy used in cancer treatments.
As mentioned, one of the other potential uses is to assist in the bonding of metal to bone…which would be very helpful to doctors that are replacing joints.
Associate Professor Yuwen Zhang and Professor Jinn-Kuen Chen recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to use the laser to sinter metal powdersturn them into a solid, yet porous, mass using heat but without massive liquefactiona process which can help improve the bond between joint implants and bone.
With the laser, we can melt a very thin strip around titanium micro- and nanoparticles and ultimately control the porosity of the bridge connecting the bone and the alloy, Zhang said. The procedure allows the particles to bond strongly, conforming to the two different surfaces.
It’s noted that the Defense Department is interested, providing grant money to research Military applications (Wolverine, anyone?). Thanks to Gizmodo.