A medical lightsaber?

While my dreams of weilding an incredibly dangerous and potentially world ending – what would happen if you dropped a lightsaber straight down? – weapon are still fiction, it appears lasers that can make tiny, ultra-precise cuts is a reality.

Researchers at the Unversity of Texas, Austin are presenting a new endoscopic laser device at the Conference on Lasers and Electro Optics next month.

Surgical lasers aren't anything new, however, but getting one that is precise enough for the kinds of cuts required in more intensive surgeries has been an unreachable goal up to now.

The new mini laser technology developed by the researchers can deliver short, very powerful laser “shots” – my words, not theirs – lasting a mere 200 quadrillonths of a second.

That may sound less useful, but it actually is more useful as it lessens the effect on healthy tissue around the affected area.

The mini laser is mountable to endoscopic equipment – like the cameras used in colonoscopies – as it's a scant 23 millimeters long.

But don't get too hopeful. While it's hilarious to think of someone weilding a 23 millimeter high-powered mini laser as a weapon, it'll be five years before it can be approved as a mass-marketed laser scalpel. For now, we can still just picture the end result of this research. World domination, naturally.

Original article: 'Lightsaber'-like laser scalpels developed for surgery (CBC Technology & Science)

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