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Lasers Surg Med. 1994;14(4):374-85.

Interferometric surface monitoring of biological tissue to study inertially confined ablation.

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  • 1Laser Biomedical Research Center, George R. Harrison Spectroscopy Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139.


We present results from the application of laser interferometry to the study of short-pulsed laser ablation of biological tissue. The mechanical response of tissue to laser-induced stress is examined under subthreshold conditions to determine its role in initiating the ablation process. A theoretical model is developed to relate this surface displacement to the pressure within the tissue and the mechanical properties of the tissue. In the experiment, a 7.5 ns pulse of 355 nm light was used to irradiate bovine shank bone, human meniscus, and an aqueous dye solution. Interferometric monitoring of the tissue surface was used to determine its motion after laser irradiation. The surface movement of bone was qualitatively consistent with the theoretical predictions of the model. The movement of meniscus and an aqueous dye solution showed additional features that are consistent with the growth and collapse of cavitation bubbles.

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