In close cooperation with medical institutions, Fraunhofer ILT researches laser-based methods for fixing wound dressings and connecting small blood vessels microsurgically. To do this, it uses protein adhesives, which can be crosslinked thermally and allow a dense connection. The thermal coagulation is carried out using laser sources whose wavelengths are changeable so that optical penetration depths can be adapted to the absorption properties of the tissue.
During surgery, thermocameras and sensors can measure the temperature during the procedure and regulate it by adjusting the laser power. Fraunhofer ILT develops corresponding systems with handpieces with integrated sensors or optical fibers for recording the temperature radiation or other optical signals. Process signals such as temperature, backscattered or fluorescent light then allow surgeons to draw reliable conclusions about the condition of the tissue. In addition, the institute is focusing its research and development on fiber-based irradiation systems with adapted beam shapes and integrated sensors. Microstructured glass fibers allow, for example, the linear irradiation and isolation of certain tissue areas for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias.
Ultra-short pulse lasers (UKP) are particularly suitable for removing hard dental tissue or ceramic replacement materials due to the low heat load. In addition to the prospect of replacing the dentist's drill with a laser, Fraunhofer ILT is investigating and improving the preparation of adhesive surfaces on ceramic inlays and veneers. Laser microstructuring of the adhesive surfaces can already be performed during the manufacture of the dental prosthesis in the dental laboratory.
The services offered include contract research for the development of beam guiding components and handpieces for laser therapy, as well as studies on the optimization of processes and signal acquisition for process monitoring.