How would you like to have an energy beam directed on your body that could kill invasive microorganisms that were making you sick? No drugs or antibiotics, just pulses from an infrared laser? Sound like something out of Star Trek? Well maybe so, but we don’t have to wait for the future to reap the advantages, because the device, called the Femtosecond laser, is here now!
Physicists in Arizona State University have designed a revolutionary laser technique that can destroy viruses and bacteria without damaging human cells. The principle is based on the fact that human cells have differently structured protein coats from the invading cells. The Femtosecond laser pulses, through a process called Impulsive Stimulated Raman Scattering (ISRS), produce vibrations in the protein coat of the disease-producing organisms, something like the effect of a high-pitched noise shattering glass. This destroys the bacteria and viruses, leaving the body cells undamaged.
“Although it is not clear at the moment why there is a large difference in laser intensity for inactivation between human cells and microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses, the research so far suggests that ISRS will be ready for use in disinfection and could provide treatments against some of the worst, often drug-resistant, bacterial and viral pathogens,” says Professor K.T. Tsen from Arizona State University.
Hospitals could be using the Femtosecond laser now to disinfect blood supply or other biomaterials and for the treatment of blood-borne diseases such as AIDS and Hepatitis.
This information comes from Institute of Physics (2007, November 2). Revolutionary Laser Technique Destroys Viruses And Bacteria Without Damaging Human Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 4, 2007, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071101084950.htm
Photo credit: Image courtesy of Institute of Physics.
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