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Future of Medicine Is Changing, Ultrafast

Sep 2014
Karen A. Newman, Group Publisher,

From precision features on implantable devices to complex procedures on human tissue, ultrashort-pulse lasers are already bringing big benefits to medicine and health care. This issue features two articles about how femtosecond lasers are helping to bring the future of medicine closer, faster.

In our cover story, authors Dr. Marcos Dantus of Michigan State University and Kiyomi Monro of Biophotonic Solutions Inc. (BSI) explain how temporal shaping will help to usher in the emerging femto revolution. Dantus, who founded BSI, and Monro share their insights on the future of surgical femtosecond lasers and the possibilities beyond ophthalmology, including hearing correction and polyp removal from vocal cords. Read the feature beginning on page 24.

In our second feature about femtosecond lasers, authors Victor Matylitsky, Herman Chui and Rajesh Patel, all of Spectra-Physics, explain why these devices are becoming the tool of choice for medical stent fabrication. “With a small dose of energy delivered in a pulse of such shorter duration at the laser’s focal spot (some microns in dimensions), the material disintegrates very precisely,” the authors write. The result is very clean micromachined features. The feature begins on page 30.

Turning quickly from femtosecond pulses to mini camera modules, we are reminded that the ubiquitousness of cameras has been made possible by bringing them way down in size and cost. In the feature, “Mini Camera Modules Pave Way for Less-Invasive Visualization,” author Martin Waeny of Awaiba CH SA explains that one way this is done is by removing everything not needed for imaging and combining the image sensor with optics and assembly designed to keep things small. Read the article beginning on page 34.

While we’re thinking big about thinking small, Managing Editor Laura S. Marshall queries the experts about the current state of positioning technologies for bio-related microscopy. Besides optics and light sources, stability is vital to achieving the resolution and imaging depth that are pushing microscopy to its furthest limits. Read what those closest to the technology have to say about it in “Positioning Equipment: Enabling Technology for Life Sciences,” starting on page 38.

The October deadline for the 2015 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation is fast approaching, but there is still plenty of time to enter your latest technological breakthrough. Awards will be made in nine categories, including Biomedical Instrumentation and Cameras and Imaging, so visit today.

Enjoy the issue.

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