Pulsed high-energy lasers operating in the near-infrared (NIR) band are increasingly being used in medical, industrial, and military applications, but there are little available experimental data to characterize their hazardous effects on skin tissue. The current American National Standard for the Safe Use of Lasers (ANSI Z136.1-2014) defines the maximum permissible exposure (MPE) on the skin as either a single-pulse or total exposure time limit. This study determined the minimum visible lesion (MVL) damage thresholds in Yucatan miniature pig skin for the single-pulse case and several multiple-pulse cases over a wide range of pulse repetition frequencies (PRFs) (10, 125, 2,000, and 10,000 Hz) utilizing nanosecond-scale pulses (10 or 60 ns). The thresholds are expressed in terms of the median effective dose (ED50) based on varying individual pulse energy with other laser parameters held constant. The results confirm a decrease in MVL threshold as PRF increases for exposures with a constant number of pulses, while also noting a PRF-dependent change in the threshold as a function of the number of pulses. Furthermore, this study highlights a change in damage mechanism to the skin from melanin-mediated photomechanical events at high irradiance levels and few numbers of pulses to bulk tissue photothermal additivity at lower irradiance levels and greater numbers of pulses. The observed trends exceeded the existing exposure limits by an average factor of 9.1 in the photothermally-damaged cases and 3.6 in the photomechanicallydamaged cases.
Michael P. DeLisi, Amanda M. Peterson, Gary D. Noojin, Aurora D. Shingledecker, Amanda J. Tijerina, Adam R. Boretsky, Morgan S. Schmidt, Semih S. Kumru, and Robert J. Thomas, "Porcine skin damage thresholds for pulsed nanosecond-scale laser exposure at 1064-nm," Proc. SPIE 10492, Optical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XXIX, 1049207 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 29, 2018; Published: 13 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2290093.
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