A group of researchers from the Mexican National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE), designed the prototype of a device that uses laser technology to shoot liquids at high speed and pierce the skin without pain.
Dr. Rubén Ramos García, an optical specialist and research leader explained that the device works thanks to the use of an infrared laser, which beam of light focuses on a special water based solution to increase its temperature.
Ramos García described that basically, liquid exceeds the boiling point and reaches 300 degrees Celsius. The phenomenon occurs so fast that the water does not have time to boil; the solution ‘super-heats’ and transforms into steam explosively, in approximately 20 to 50 micro seconds. In this way a bubble is formed that expands and moves the target liquid out of a container.
To conduct the fluid out of the container, a small channel was adapted. By reducing its diameter, this escape channel increases the liquid speed to up to 100 meters per second.
Due to the speed of the phenomenon, the researchers used an ultra-fast camera that takes between a hundred and a half million shots per second to observe in detail the shape of the jet and analyze the velocity of the liquid expelled by the bubble. In addition, jets penetration tests are performed with a material called agar, however, tests on pig and human skin must still be performed.
“The outer layer that protects us from the environment is called ‘stratum corneum’ and has different thicknesses depending on the part of the body, from 10 to 100 micrometers. With the 100 meters per second achieved so far, in a single shot you can penetrate up to half a millimeter, we have reached two millimeters deep with 5 shots, which is ideal for delivering vaccines, injecting insulin for people with diabetes or even doing tattoos,” Said Ramos García.
According to the mathematical physicist graduated from the National Polytechnic Institute, the prototype’s dimensions are one meter on each of its sides, due to its current components. However, the laser currently used will be change by one of fiber, which has the thickness of one hair. By doing this, a more compact and easily manageable device will be achieved.
Also, because the prototype works with heat and some medications should not be subjected to high temperatures, the researchers are currently working on a design in which the medicine is thermally separated from the hot liquid to avoid damage to the drug.
Source: Agencia ID