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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2010 Oct;82(4 Pt 2):046313. Epub 2010 Oct 27.

Multifocal laser surgery: cutting enhancement by hydrodynamic interactions between cavitation bubbles.

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Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, Stanford University, 452 Lomita Mall, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Transparent biological tissues can be precisely dissected with ultrafast lasers using optical breakdown in the tight focal zone. Typically, tissues are cut by sequential application of pulses, each of which produces a single cavitation bubble. We investigate the hydrodynamic interactions between simultaneous cavitation bubbles originating from multiple laser foci. Simultaneous expansion and collapse of cavitation bubbles can enhance the cutting efficiency, by increasing the resulting deformations in tissue, and the associated rupture zone. An analytical model of the flow induced by the bubbles is presented and experimentally verified. The threshold strain of the material rupture is measured in a model tissue. Using the computational model and the experimental value of the threshold strain one can compute the shape of the rupture zone in tissue resulting from application of multiple bubbles. With the threshold strain of 0.7 two simultaneous bubbles produce a continuous cut when applied at the distance 1.35 times greater than that required in sequential approach. Simultaneous focusing of the laser in multiple spots along the line of intended cut can extend this ratio to 1.7. Counterpropagating jets forming during collapse of two bubbles in materials with low viscosity can further extend the cutting zone-up to approximately a factor of 1.5.

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