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Medical application of fibre amplified laser, design and reliability

Mafalda deals with two aspects of dedicated fibre lasers: (1) the development and valorisation of a low cost solution for specific micro-surgery applications and (2) showing the technology's reliability and capacity for dealing with demands from powerful modern medical and non-medical applications.

Over recent years optoelectronics has become an important activity in telecom applications. It is especially the case for devices such as lasers that can cover many applications in aero-spatial, military, environmental, industrial or medical areas etc. Fibre Laser is an innovative technology that benefits from many advantages with respect to other traditional laser sources: - compactness, - reliability, - good beam quality achievable, - cost effectiveness for optical powers below kilowatt range, - flexibility in terms of possible emission wavelengths etc. For surgery applications, these characteristics make the fibre laser source very efficient in terms of: - precision: by working with very directive and small dimension high power beams, - efficiency: choosing a wavelength domain where the absorption of water is high: 1.55 micron metre for instance, is a suitable wavelength not very often used in medical applications. The first goal of this project is to realise a compact, efficient and low cost 1.55 micron metre laser for micro-surgery applications useful for: neurosurgery, oto-rhino-laryngology, laparoscopy etc. This wavelength can be efficient and benefits from telecom developments to achieve low-cost and reliable lasers. The second objective of MAFALDA is to explore the possibilities of developing this technology in order to address other activities within or outside of the medical domain by: - increasing the optical power emitted, - working on short pulsed mode, - emitting other wavelengths etc. The medical experts on the project, INSERM and INTERMEDIC, will define the specifications for the laser. Validation and tests will be led by INSERM. This institute has much experience in lasers for medical applications. The main applications that will be first explored are surgery and dermatology. INTERMEDIC EUROPE is a manufacturer of laser equipment and is a potential integrator of the fibre laser. This partner will bring an industrial point of view to the project and help in defining the laser specifications, keeping in mind their present and future applications. Most of the R & D within MAFALDA will be focused on the fibre laser technology. The fibre laser consists of a pumping source, a doped fibre as the amplification medium, and a cavity obtained with fibre Bragg gratings. The following points have been identified as crucial for future validation and demonstration of the product and will be studied in detail by the technical partners: - design and research of low cost, competitive solutions, - reliability and estimation of the limitations of the low-cost designs for high power operation (this point will benefit from the current activities of COST 270 which MULTITEL is taking part in), - study of the developments and technical solutions that can be envisaged in order to increase the capability of the component. In terms of tasks undertaken, this project has two main complementary objectives: - validation of the low-cost design for first medical applications and study of the possible valorisation, - demonstration of a high power amplifying solution in association with the low-cost laser in view of more demanding applications foreseen. Concerning the first objective, MULTITEL and CRIF will work on the design module and integration of the fibre laser, THALES LASER DIODE will develop a low-cost pumping device, INSERM, INTERMEDIC and IT-OPTICS will be in charge of the validation and the valorisation, while IXL will look after the reliability studies. The second task of the project will mainly involve MULTITEL and THALES RESEARCH & TECHNOLOGY for the high power aspects, and IXL again as reliability experts. The consortium is made up of Belgian, French and Spanish entities whose experience and expertise are complementary and allow for completion of all technical, economic and human requirements of project MAFALDA. Keywords: medical, laser, reliability.
Acronym: 
MAFALDA
Project ID: 
3 258
Start date: 
01-03-2004
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
3 450 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Laser Technology
Market Area: 
Surgical instrumentation and equipment

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