Laser light delivery systems for medical applications

Rudolf M. Verdaasdonk*, Christiaan F.P. Van Swol

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


For medical applications, the choice of a delivery system will be governed by the characteristics of the laser system on the one hand and the tissue application on the other. The most important parts are the beam guide and the target optics. Most lasers have wavelengths in the visible and near- infrared and can be transported by silica fibres. For the mid- and far-IR other fibre materials or hollow waveguides are used. At the end of the waveguide or fibre, an optically active component is present to direct the beam and to control the power density on the target tissue. The laser beam can be delivered either by focusing handpieces and scanning devices to treat superficial areas or through microscopes, endoscopes and flexible fibres to treat areas almost anywhere inside the human body. The characteristics of the delivery systems can be determined looking at beam properties, transmission and thermal properties. The delivery of continuous wave or pulsed laser energy, contact or non-contact, will determine the contribution of optical, thermal and mechanical effects to the tissue. The practical use of laser delivery systems is illustrated by various clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-894
Number of pages26
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 1997
Externally publishedYes


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