Some of the most commonly performed surgical operations in the world, including laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK), lens replacement (e.g. cataract surgery), and keratoplasty (cornea transplant), now employ therapeutic infrared femtosecond lasers (FSLs) for their extreme precision, low energy delivered into tissue and advanced ablation characteristics. Although the widely exploited applications of FSLs in medical therapeutics offer significant benefits, FSLs must generate very high intensities in order to achieve optical breakdown, the predominant tissue ablative mechanism, which can also stimulate nonlinear optical effects such as harmonic generation, an effect that generates coherent visible and UV light in the case of second- (SHG) and third-harmonic generation (THG), respectively. In order to improve the understanding of HG in corneal tissue, the effect of FSL polarization and pulse energy were investigated. FSL stimulated SHG intensity in corneal tissue was measured as the laser polarization was rotated 360 degrees. Further, the pulse energy at the SHG wavelength were measured for single FSL pulses as the pulse energy at the fundamental wavelength was varied through a range of clinically relevant values. The results of this study revealed SHG intensity oscillated with laser polarization, having a variation greater than 20%. This relationship seems to due to the intrinsic anisotropy of collagen fibril hyperpolarizability, not related to tissue birefringence. SHG pulse energy measurements showed an increase in SHG pulse energy with increasing FSL pulse energy, however conversion efficiency decreased. This may be related to the dynamic relationship between optical breakdown leading to tissue destruction and HG evolution.
William R Calhoun and Ilko K. Ilev, "Effect of laser polarization and pulse energy on therapeutic, femtosecond laser-induced second harmonic generation in corneal tissue
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9693, Ophthalmic Technologies XXVI, 96931B (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 14, 2016; Published: 26 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2216264.4848636527001.
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