Subpicosecond and picosecond laser ablation of dental enamel: Comparative analysis

A. V. Rode*, N. R. Madsen, V. Z. Kolev, E. G. Gamaly, B. Luther-Davies, J. M. Dawes, A. Chan

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    We report the use of sub-picosecond near-IR and ps UV pulsed lasers for precision ablation of freshly extracted human teeth. The sub-picosecond laser wavelength was ∼800nm, with pulsewidth 150 fs and pulse repetition rate of 1kHz; the UV laser produced 10 ps pulses at 266 nm with pulse rate of ∼1.2×105 pulses/s; both lasers produced ∼1 W of output energy, and the laser fluence was kept at the same level of 10 - 25 J/cm 2. Laser radiation from both laser were effectively absorbed in the teeth enamel, but the mechanisms of absorption were radically different: the near-IR laser energy was absorbed in a plasma layer formed through the optical breakdown mechanism initiated by multiphoton absorption, while the UV-radiation was absorbed due to molecular photodissociation of the enamel and conventional thermal deposition. The rise in the intrapulpal temperature was monitored by embedded thermocouples, and was shown to remain low with subpicosecond laser pulses, but risen up to 30°C, well above the 5°C pain level with the UV-laser. This study demonstrates the potential for ultra-short-pulsed lasers to precision and painless ablation of dental enamel, and indicated the optimal combination of laser parameters in terms of pulse energy, duration, intensity, and repetition rate, required for the laser ablation rates comparable to that of mechanical drill.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)76-86
    Number of pages11
    JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


    • Subpicosecond laser ablation of dental enamel


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