Overview of Optical and Thermal Laser-Tissue Interaction and Nomenclature

  • Ashley J. Welch
  • Martin J.C. van Gemert


The development of a unified theory for the optical and thermal response of tissue to laser radiation is no longer in its infancy, though it is still not fully developed. This book describes our current understanding of the physical events that can occur when light interacts with tissue, particularly the sequence of formulations that estimate the optical and thermal responses of tissue to laser radiation. This overview is followed by an important chapter that describes the basic interactions of light with tissue. Part I considers basic tissue optics. Tissue is treated as an absorbing and scattering medium and methods are presented for calculating and measuring light propagation, including polarized light. Also, methods for estimating tissue optical properties from measurements of reflection and transmission are discussed. Part II concerns the thermal response of tissue owing to absorbed light, and rate reactions are presented for predicting the extent of laser induced thermal damage. Methods for measuring temperature, thermal properties, rate constants, pulsed ablation and laser tissue interactions are detailed. Part III is devoted to examples that use the theory presented in Parts I and II to analyze various medical applications of lasers. Discussions of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), forensic optics, and light stimulation of nerves are also included.


Optical Coherence Tomography Thermal Response Fluence Rate Light Stimulation Port Wine Stain 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringThe University of TexasAustinUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical Engineering and PhysicsAcademic Medical Center, University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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