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National Science Foundation

NSF 07-43, Benchmarks of NSF Innovation

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Laser systems developed to study ultra-short reactions at the atomic and molecular levels have now found novel applications in areas as diverse as manufacturing and medicine--including the popular vision-correction surgery known as LASIK.

A team of scientists from the NSF Science and Technology Center for Ultrafast Optical Science and the University of Michigan's Kellogg Eye Center developed a high-precision laser for eye surgery.

The IntraLase Corporation was founded to extend ultra-fast laser applications into medical areas, such as ophthalmology and dermatology. IntraLase Corporation reported revenues of $94.5 million for the first nine months of 2006. From July to September of 2006, more than 132,000 IntraLase procedures were performed worldwide.

close-up photo of green, human eye

The laser developed by the team can perform surgical procedures within the transparent cornea of the eye. This work was not possible with previous laser technology and is considered more precise, faster and less invasive than current procedures.

Credit: morgueFile.

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