Novel fibres hold promise for laser surgery

A team of researchers at Heriot-Watt University and the University of Bath have described two silica hollow-core microstructured fiber designs – negative-curvature fiber (a) and photonic-bandgap fiber (b) – that can help to advance mid-IR laser surgery applications.

Work led by Dr Jonathan Shephard, who is part of the EPSRC Centre in Laser-based Production Processes, and collaborators at the University of Bath has been highlighted in the article “Moving Past the Articulated Arm” in the latest edition of Biophotonics.

The research team, in a project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), has developed novel hollow core fibres which have excellent power handling capability whilst being small in diameter and highly flexible in comparison to existing technologies used to deliver surgical lasers such as articulated arms. Using these fibres Artur Urich, a researcher in the High Power Laser Applications group at Heriot-Watt, has produced a flexible “laser scalpel” demonstrating the potential of these fibres to improve the usability of surgical lasers in minimally invasive procedures.

They are now working with clinicians to develop novel procedures to address particular medical conditions where restricted access inhibits traditional surgical techniques.

Read the full report.