Sapphire Optical Fibers for Surgical Erbium Lasers

Period of Performance: 04/11/1994 - 08/12/1994


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Saphikon, Inc.
33 Powers St
Milford, NH 03055
Principal Investigator


Utilization of the promising Erbium:YAG laser has been hindered by the lack of a truly effective optical fiber delivery system. The innovation proposed is to demonstrate sapphire optical fibers as an effective means of delivering 2.94 micron Erbium:YAG laser energy in pre-clinical in vitro ophthalmic procedures. The Saphikon Edge-defined, Film-fed Growth (EFG) technique will be used to produce the sapphire fibers. Designed experiments will be conducted to establish the preferred crystal growth parameters required for production of sapphire fibers for use in the pre- clinical study. All fibers used in the study will be qualified using the Erbium laser. Pre-clinical trials conducted at the New England Eye Institute will employ test protocols designed to parallel those used in ongoing Erbium laser clinical trials using a fluoride fiber/quartz tip delivery system. The objective of the trials will be to demonstrate the surgical precision of the Erbium:YAG/Sapphire fiber laser modality. Beyond the initial demonstration of this modality in ophthalmic procedures, further improvement in the power handling capabilities of the sapphire fiber will allow for its use in a far wider range of applications, including: endodontic, general dentistry, and orthopedics.