PhD Opportunity: Pushing the limits of surgical precision with new ultrafast laser sources.

Pushing the limits of surgical precision with new ultrafast laser sources 

Primary Supervisor: Prof. Jonathan Shephard – Heriot Watt University

Cancers at an early-stage of disease lend themselves to minimally invasive surgery with potential advantages in terms of patient survivability and better preservation of normal function. However, if the very smallest traces of microscopic disease are not removed then this results in treatment failure and cancer recurrence. We have recently shown that ultrashort, infrared picosecond pulsed lasers can provide significant advantages for high precision, minimally invasive surgery of tumours compared to conventional tools with huge gains in precision and a major reduction in the thermal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Consequently, this PhD project will focus on exploring new laser sources (such as shorter wavelength ultrashort pulsed systems in the deep UV) in order to push the limits of the precision down to the cellular level. We will aim to demonstrate improved precision for tissue ablation on a range of clinically relevant tissue models and explore new micro-optical schemes for delivery of these novel sources. If diseases such as cancer can be surgically removed, cell-by-cell, then complete eradication becomes a realistic opportunity.

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