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Using lasers to vaporize tissue at multiple points simultaneously

Date:
September 13, 2011
Source:
Optical Society of America
Summary:
Researchers have developed a new technique that uses a single UV laser pulse to zap away biological tissue at multiple points simultaneously. The new method could help scientists study the mechanical forces at work as organisms grow and change shape.

Time-lapse microscopy of a fruit fly epithelium in which a single cell is isolated from the remainder of the cell sheet using a single holographically-shaped laser pulse. Progression in time is color-coded from blue to red to white.
Credit: Aroshan K. Jayasinghe.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University have developed a new technique that uses a single UV laser pulse to zap away biological tissue at multiple points simultaneously, a method that could help scientists study the mechanical forces at work as organisms grow and change shape.

UV lasers are a commonly-used tool for cutting into tissue, but the lasers usually make incisions by vaporizing one point at a time in a series of steps. If the initial laser pulse cuts into cells under tension, the tissue could spring back from the incision. This makes precise tasks, such as cutting around a single cell, difficult.

The Vanderbilt team found a way around this problem by using a computer-controlled hologram to shape the phase profile of the UV pulse -basically applying a patterned delay onto different parts of the beam. When the pulse then passed through a lens, the altered phase profile yielded an interference pattern with bright spots at any user-desired pattern of points. Using this method, which can vaporize up to 30 points simultaneously, the researchers successfully isolated a single cell on a developing fruit fly embryo and then observed how the cell relaxed into a shape dictated solely by internal forces.

The technique, described in the September issue of the Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express, could be applied to other model organisms, such as frogs or zebra fish, to help answer outstanding questions in developmental biology. This knowledge may in turn guide bioengineers searching for ways to grow designer tissue.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Optical Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Aroshan K Jayasinghe, Jason Rohner, M Shane Hutson. Holographic UV laser microsurgery. Biomedical Optics Express, 2011; 2 (9): 2590 DOI: 10.1364/BOE.2.002590

Cite This Page:

Optical Society of America. "Using lasers to vaporize tissue at multiple points simultaneously." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110913103208.htm>.
Optical Society of America. (2011, September 13). Using lasers to vaporize tissue at multiple points simultaneously. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110913103208.htm
Optical Society of America. "Using lasers to vaporize tissue at multiple points simultaneously." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110913103208.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

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