CO2 Laser Inscription

This past weekend I attended the Willamette Veterinary Hospital open house. This Vet Clinic located in Corvallis Oregon offers a broad range of services for companion and small exotic animals including a 24 hour urgent care. I currently don’t have a pet; however, learning about biological science and its applications in diverse fields such as medicine has always interested me. I especially enjoy learning about fields that bring engineering and bioscience together. I was very impressed to see how much technology is currently involved in veterinary medicine. X-ray machines, dental equipment and many surgical tools. This clinic was very well equipped. One of the devices that caught my attention was a CO2 surgical laser. This laser emits a high power infrared laser beam which can be used in several surgical procedures. For example, sometimes it is used as a scalpel to create small incisions. An incision performed by a laser burns the capillaries as it cuts, which reduces bleeding, pain and healing time. To demonstrate the technology during the open house, the laser was being used to write on tomatoes and tongue depressors. I was lucky to get my name written in a tongue depressor.


The operator of the laser must wear proper eye protection and since IR radiation is not visible to the human eye, the machine was equipped with a red guiding laser beam as well. In order to write on the tongue depressor without burning it all the way through, the hand movement speed used was very similar to regular hand writing speed with a pen.

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