Mechanism of dye-enhanced pulsed laser ablation of hard tissues: Implications for dentistry

Rinat Esenaliev, Alexander Oraevsky, Sohi Rastegar, Chris Frederickson, Massoud Motamedi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Alexandrite laser ablation of enamel enhanced by indocyanine green dye was studied. Microjet system was employed to deliver precisely measured small amounts of absorbing dye solution to the site of irradiation. A sequence of physical phenomena involved in dye-enhanced laser ablation of dental enamel was revealed when laser pulse profiles were compared with the profiles of laser-induced pressure, laser-induced plasma, and ablation plume kinetics. To understand photomechanical effects on the enamel ablation, the absolute values of pressure waves were measured by calibrated wide-band acoustic transducer. Absolute amplitude and temporal profile of pressure waves, plasma emission, ablation plume kinetics, ablation efficiency, and crater quality under free-running and Q-switched ablation of enamel were studied. It was found that there is an optimal dye solution volume (100-200 nL) when the maximum ablation efficiency (30 μm/pulse) can be obtained. It was shown that the ablation efficiency under Q-switched laser irradiation is approximately one order of magnitude lower than that under free-running ablation. It was shown that Q-switched enamel ablation with dye solution is caused by the powerful recoil pressure wave with the amplitude 3-6.5 kbar. In contrast, dye-enhanced free-running enamel ablation is caused by plasma-mediated evaporation of enamel and accompanied by recoil pressure waves of lower amplitude (0.5-1 kbar) that is below mechanical damage threshold in enamel. Uneven crater walls after Q-switched ablation were observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Free-running ablation makes precise craters with smooth and even crater walls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)836-846
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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