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The many facets of diode module lasers in the medical industry

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The medical industry has increasingly utilized diode module lasers for a growing number of applications in no small part because of their precision and consistent accuracy in patient alignment (i.e., in their use with MRI machines, X-ray systems, CT scanners). Certain procedures require absolute accuracy and stillness, such as soft tissue treatment and patient alignment, which diode module lasers greatly support. These lasers are a part of the new technologies that are revolutionizing the medical industry, by supporting more accurate (and faster) diagnoses and advanced treatment methods.

Patient Alignment Systems

Laser diode modules have become instrumental to ensuring the best image quality with MRI machines, X-ray systems, and CT scanners, because they enable technicians to position patients correctly. Laser line and cross modules enable technicians to realize optimal results from their instruments, achieving high visibility (alignment).

Requirements of Laser Modules in Patient Alignment Systems

Lasers are typically mounted alongside imaging components, allowing technicians to see where images will be taken. Either a red laser line or cross is used, but green is also used, due to the eye’s sensitivity to it. To get the best lines, most applications require the best bore sighting (e.g., no bright spots, breaks, or other irregularities).

Soft Tissue Treatment

With these procedures, in dentistry for example, laser diode modules play a crucial role in removing inflamed or diseased soft tissue with virtually pain-free methods and minimal bleeding. Because of the simplicity and accuracy these lasers afford, they have become the preferred solution.

Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)

Another area in which lasers are supporting patient treatment is the treatment of nerves (e.g., wound healing, nerve regeneration and soft tissue injuries), which is referred to Low Level Laser Therapy or LLLT (also known as cold laser therapy). With LLT, lasers can be utilized to stimulate or inhibit cells, as well as to stimulate drugs within the body, causing a beneficial reaction that aids in a patient’s treatment.

Key Diode Modules Application and Advantages

  • Laser diode modules combine advanced technology, high-level, quality optics, sophisticated electronics and durable and modular packaging suitable for multiple applications
  • High-end laser diode modules, like Coherent’s, Bottom of Form
  • Enable the laser beam to be aligned and collimated, simultaneously
  • Laser diode modules can be engineered to protect from mechanical shock, vibrationally damped and optimized for thermal conductivity
  • Diode laser modules are more economical (e.g., they require less power, are smaller, they generate less heat and last longer than other lasers)
  • Laser diode modules boast constant power drive (e.g., output power is constant over temperature and lifetime)

These advantages and applications are but the tip of the iceberg for the emerging technology. As laser diode module technology continues to develop and advance, there is ample reason to expect that practitioners in all medical industries (veterinarian, medical doctors and technicians, as well as life sciences researchers) will continue to profit from utilizing them in even more applications and at a substantial cost-savings to themselves and their patients.

Mark Williams is an experienced engineer and loves laser technology. Learn more about the author by connecting with him over at Google+. Sources for this article can be found at http://www.coherent.com/products/?786/Diode-Modules.