Optical cochlea stimulation is under investigation as a potential alternative to conventional electric cochlea implants in
treatment of sensorineural hearing loss. If direct optical stimulation of spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) would be feasible,
a smaller stimulation volume and, therefore, an improved frequency resolution could be achieved. However, it is unclear
whether the mechanism of optical stimulation is based on direct neuronal stimulation or on optoacoustics. Animal studies
on hearing vs. deafened guinea pigs already identified the optoacoustic effect as potential mechanism for intra-cochlear
In order to characterize the optoacoustic stimulus more thoroughly the acoustic signal along the beam path of a pulsed
laser in water was quantified and compared to the neuronal response properties of hearing guinea pigs stimulated with
the same laser parameters. Two pulsed laser systems were used for analyzing the influence of variable pulse duration,
pulse energy, pulse peak power and absorption coefficient.
Preliminary results of the experiments in water and in vivo suggesta similar dependency of response signals on the
applied laser parameters: Both datasets show an onset and offset signal at the beginning and the end of the laser pulse.
Further, the resulting signal amplitude depends on the pulse peak power as well as the temporal development of the
applied laser pulse. The data indicates the maximum of the first derivative of power as the decisive factor. In conclusion
our findings strengthen the hypothesis of optoacoustics as the underlying mechanism for optical stimulation of the
We present a time-resolved photographic analysis of the pulse-to-pulse interaction. In particular, we studied the influence of the cavitation bubble induced by a fs-pulse on the optical focusing of the consecutive pulse and its cavitation bubble dynamics in dependence on temporal pulse separation in water. As a first result, by decreasing the temporal separation of laser pulses, there is a diminishment of the laser-induced optical breakdown (LIOB) efficiency in terms of energy conversion, caused by disturbed focusing into persisting gas bubbles at the focal volume. A LIOB at the focal spot is finally suppressed by impinging the expanding or collapsing cavitation bubble of the preceding pulse. These results could be additionally confirmed in porcine gelatin solution with various concentrations. Hence, the interaction between the laser and transparent ophthalmic tissue may be accompanied by a raised central laser energy transmission, which could be observed in case of a temporal pulse overlap. In conclusion, our experimental results are of particular importance for the optimization of the prospective ophthalmic surgical process with future generation fs-lasers.
There is a controversy, to which extend cochlear stimulation with near infrared laser pulses at a wavelength of 1860 nm is based on optoacoustic stimulation of intact hair cells or -in contrast- is based on direct stimulation of the nerve cells in absence of functional hair cells. Thermal and stress confinement conditions apply, because of the pulse duration range (5 ns, 10 μs-20 ms) of the two lasers used. The dependency of the signal characteristics on pulse peak power and pulse duration was investigated in this study. The compound action potential (CAP) was measured during stimulation of the cochlea of four anaesthetized guinea pigs, which were hearing at first and afterwards acutely deafened using intracochlear neomycin-rinsing. For comparison hydrophone measurements in a water tank were performed to investigate the optoacoustic signals at different laser interaction regimes. With rising pulse peak power CAPs of the hearing animals showed first a threshold, then a positively correlated and finally a saturating dependency. CAPs also showed distinct responses at laser onset and offset separated with the pulse duration. At pulse durations shorter than physiological response times the signals merged. Basically the same signal characteristics were observed in the optoacoustic hydrophone measurements, scaled with the sensitivity and response time of the hydrophone. Taking together the qualitative correspondence in the signal response and the absence of any CAPs in deafened animals our results speak in favor of an optoacoustic stimulation of intact hair cells rather than a direct stimulation of nerve cells.
We present a time-resolved photographic analysis of the pulse-to-pulse interaction of temporally separated fs-laser pulses with various pulse overlap in water. Initially, by decreasing the temporal separation of laser pulses there is a diminishment of the laser-induced optical breakdown (LIOB) probability, caused by focusing into persisting gas bubbles at the focal volume. A LIOB at the focal spot is finally impaired by the oscillating cavitation bubble of the preceding pulse. Hence, the interaction between the laser and transparent ophthalmic tissue may be accompanied by a raised laser energy transmission and a variation in the axial cutting depth, which could be observed in case of a pulse overlap. In conclusion, our experimental results are of particular importance for the optimization of the prospective ophthalmic surgical process with future-generation fs-lasers.
Interaction of subsequent laser pulses becomes important relevant with the use of high-repetition rate fs-laser systems for
ophthalmic laser surgery. Therefore, we investigated the interaction of temporally separated laser pulses in water by
time-resolved photography. With decreasing temporal separation of pulses the probability of laser-induced optical
breakdown (LIOB) is firstly diminished by disturbed focusing into persisting gas bubbles. Finally, LIOB is totally
impaired by the expanding or collapsing cavitation of the preceding pulse. Hence, laser-tissue interaction might be
accompanied by a raised laser energy transmission. In conclusion, these results are of great interest for the prospective
optimization of the ophthalmic surgical process with modern fs-lasers.