28 Jan 2003
The pick of this week's patent applications, including potential methods for vision correction and cellulite removal.
• Title: A method of creating stromal pockets for corneal implants
Applicant: Intralase Corp., US
International application number: WO 03/005920
Intralase, the company that is pioneering the use of femtosecond lasers for vision correction, has applied for a patent covering a similar technique that can be used in conjunction with corneal implants. These implants are seen as a possible alternative to current laser refractive eye surgery. In this application, a pulsed laser disrupts a pre-prescribed volume within the eye's stromal tissue and an entry channel to the front of the eye is created. A corneal implant can then be passed into the space created to correct the patient's vision.
• Title: Method and apparatus for depth profile analysis by laser-induced plasma spectroscopy
Applicant: National Research Council of Canada
International application number: WO 03/006967
Canadian researchers have filed their idea for laser analysis of heterogeneous materials. An ablation crater is first formed by firing an initial beam at the sample under analysis. Then a second beam, with a smaller width than the first, is directed at the bottom of the crater to create a plasma. The plasma emits radiation characteristic of the sample at that particular point, and a depth profile of the sample's various chemical constituents can be deduced. By keeping the second beam to a smaller width, the profile can be built up with no contribution from the walls of the crater.
• Title: Apparatus for treating cellulitis by combined methods
Applicant: El.En, Italy
International application number: WO 03/005921
Removal of cellulite could be the latest "aesthetic" treatment for laser technology if a patent application from the Italian medical laser specialist El.En is anything to go by. Its researchers have come up with a combined method that uses a laser to stimulate the skin and a means for mechanical massage.
• Title: Microlens arrays for display intensity enhancement
Applicant: Princeton University, US
International application number: WO 03/007663
As the expected emergence of displays based on organic light-emitting devices (OLEDs) draws near, Princeton University researchers have designed a microlens array to enhance emission from microdisplays based on the technology. The array consists of a large number of microlenses whose maximum size is smaller than the OLEDs, but whose minium size is larger than the wavelength of light that they emit.
Michael Hatcher is technology editor of Opto and Laser Europe magazine.