Forced Resonance Ultra-Short Pulse Laser Kills Viruses Dead
Is it possible to shine a light on infected tissue, and only kill the viruses, leaving healthy tissue intact? A father-son team combined physics and biology to prove that it is indeed possible.
(Ultra short pulse laser)
Kong-Thon Tsen, a physics professor at Arizona State University, was talking with his son Shaw-Wei Tsen, a pathology student at Johns Hopkins, about antiviral treatments. If a vaccine is not available for a viral illness, treatment options are extremely limited.
"We have demonstrated a technique of using a laser to excite vibrations on the shield of a virus and damage it, so that it's no longer functional," said Tsen senior. "We're testing it on HIV and hepatitis right now."
Tsen and Tsen have demonstrated that their laser technique can break up the protein shell of the mosaic tobacco virus. When completed, the treatment leaves only a harmless film of molecules.
The ultra-short pulse (USP) laser releases energy in pulses just one femtosecond long; that's one millionth of a nanosecond. The USP laser can kill the virus using a principle called "forced resonance." Every virus has a unique molecular structure; for each virus, there is a unique frequency that will cause it to vibrate. It is analogous to the way that a fine crystal glass will resonate, or vibrate at a particular frequency.
If you increase the volume at that particular frequency, the glass will vibrate violently enough to shatter. Similarly, by putting more energy in to the USP laser, the virus shakes itself apart.
So far, their technique has only been used in test tubes; animal trials must follow, with human trials further into the future.
This device seems almost too good to be true; it sounds like something a science fiction writer might think of. As a matter of fact, Robert J. Sawyer did think about it, writing in Hybrids (Neanderthal Parallax):
Mary ...went through the tuned-laser decontamination process, coherent beams at precise wave-lengths passing through her flesh to zap foreign molecules within her body. Already, similar devices were being built in Mary's world to treat many forms of infection.
(Read more about tuned-laser decontamination)
More futuristic medical advances:
Take a look at an earlier story about the Radiance ultra-short pulse laser. Story via Wired.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/18/2007)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )
Related News Stories -
You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.' - Frank Herbert, 1972.
First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.
Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...
MIT Ampli Blocks Build Biomedical Devices
Damn it Spock, I'm a doctor not an engineer!
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."
Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'
DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'
Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.
ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.
When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'
Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'
'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'
Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'
Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'
Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.
Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'
Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'
Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'
CIMON Space Sidekick For Weary Astronauts
I welcome our floating robotic assistants.
SRI MicroFactory Of Microrobots Recalls Dick's Autofac
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants... constructing something...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories