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Healing wounds with lasers, vehicles that drive themselves, other cutting-edge optics
Date:5/26/2009

WASHINGTON, May 26--Researchers from around the world will present the latest breakthroughs in electro-optics, lasers and the application of light waves at the 2009 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics/International Quantum Electronics Conference (CLEO/IQEC) May 31 to June 5 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore.

RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MEETING:

  • Healing with Light
  • Vehicles that Drive Themselves
  • Flexible Monitors for Future Battlefields
  • World's Highest-Resolution Commercial Satellite
  • More Quiet Mirrors
  • Terahertz Modulators
  • World's Highest-Resolution Projector
  • Picosecond Oscilloscope

HEALING WITH LIGHT

Star Trek scanners that fix injuries with beams of light may not be science fiction after all. A new optical technology that lines up living cells and controls their movements has opened the door to better artificial tissues and wounds that heal faster with less scarring.

For years, scientists have used the energy in laser light to drill microscopic holes or as tweezers or traps to direct and maneuver small pieces of matter. Guiding entire cells, though, has proven difficult because the lasers used for manipulation tend to damage the structural units of living organisms.

Now Aristide Dogariu and colleagues at the University of Central Florida in Orlando have developed an optical procedure that does not harm cells, but affects their skeletons an ensemble of slender rods made out of an abundant protein called actin. The actin rods are constantly growing and shrinking inside of cells. The direction in which they grow changes the cell's membrane shape and dictates where the cell moves.

Dogariu and colleagues use the polarization of optical waves to create a field around the cells in which the growing actin rods line up like a compass in the Earth's magnetic field. These optical fields can be used to guide large groups of cells to line
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Contact: Colleen Morrison
cmorri@osa.org
202-416-1437
Optical Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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