Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Photomed Laser Surg. 2006 Oct;24(5):655-9.

Optical absorption coefficient, time of thermal relaxation, time of surface threshold, and time of heat incubation for PMMA samples at the CO2 laser-beam wavelength of 10.6 microm.

Author information

  • 1Agilent Technologies GmbH, Böblingen, Germany.



This paper discusses in detail the mathematical identification of the optical absorption alpha (cm(1)) of Beer's law, a crucial parameter to study the development of laser beam craters into dry poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) samples exposed to steady CO(2) laser beams emitting radiation at lambda = 10.6 microm in continuous- wave (CW) mode. Three additional time-dependent coefficients have been determined as well. In clinical applications, these results are important in order to precisely quantify and forecast the ablation capabilities of the CO(2) laser beam, to optimize its usage in the operating room, and to address the safety issues related to surgical interventions on human tissue.


Currently, the data available in the literature do not allow the identification of the numerical value of alpha (cm(1)) for PMMA at lambda = 10.6 microm with enough, and therefore satisfactory, accuracy. Additionally, the correct identification of the optical absorption of PMMA would allow the isolation, with better accuracy, of other key time-dependent coefficients, such as relaxation time, surface threshold time, and heat incubation time, which are all described in the literature in a qualitative rather than quantitative fashion. Correct bone cement preparation depends on the value of alpha (cm(1)) of the PMMA in order to avoid unwanted complications in patients during cement removal via laser techniques.


The laser in use was configured in different combinations with the following parameters: transverse electromagnetic modes (TEMnm), output power (I0), exposure times (te), and focal lengths (fk). Several PMMA blocks (1 cm x 4 cm x 4 cm) were exposed to CW radiation of three commercially available CO(2) medical laser devices showing a TEM11 mode. Each block was exposed to the beam on a horizontal and well-polished surface of each sample. Four focal lengths (2.5", 5", 7.5", and 15.75" [400 mm]) were used to focus the beam on the well-polished and dry surface of the PMMA samples. The resulting dimensions of the craters were measured after each exposure, which has been kept at a 10-Watt CW beam. Exposure time ranged from 0.5 to 2 sec.


The value of alpha = 502 (cm(1)) for PMMAat 10.6 microm was identified, matching other results reported in the literature for similar compact media in the absence of water content, such as PMMA. The time of thermal relaxation was 9.358 x 10(4) sec, the time of surface threshold was 9.365 x 10(4) sec, and the time of heat incubation was 3.6 x 10(7) sec (all three for PMMAat 10.6 microm for any exposure). Using the calculated value of alpha, one of the practical clinical recommendations would be, for instance, to reduce or to abolish the utilization of colorant dopants in the preparation of the bone cement mixture and therefore reduce the danger of bone damage possible during the removal of bone cement via laser techniques. Other examples refer to other clinical bone and dental treatments.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk