Carbon Dioxide Laser Instrumentation

  • Joseph H. Bellina
  • Gaetano Bandieramonte


The C02 laser’s energy is supplied by passing an electrical current (DC) through a mixture of helium, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide (this is in contrast to the ruby laser, which is excited by powerful flash lamps) that is contained in a cylinder with reflective mirrors at the end known as an optical cavity. The mirrors are aligned in such a manner as to have a common optical axis, whereby if a photon strikes one mirror it will be reflected to the second mirror and return in a similar fashion. Each pass through the optical cavity may result in photon absorption and yield stimulated emissions. In a short time, a population inversion and a laser effect are achieved. If a small optical opening is created in one mirror (i.e., a semitransparent mirror) a stream of photons that has the unique properties of being parallel and of the same frequency will exit. The energy density in the beam cross section is extremely high, and if this energy is passed through a lens system of appropriate material, an even greater cross-sectional density of energy can be achieved at the focal point. Using a system of gimbaled mirrors outside the optical cavity and on appropriate lens, the carbon dioxide laser has been harnessed for precision surgery (Fig. 2.1).


Laser Beam Power Density Spot Size Transverse Mode Optical Cavity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Polanyi TG, Bredemier HC, Davis TW, Jr: A C02 laser for surgical research. Med Biol Eng 8: 541 – 548, 1970.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bayly JG, Kartha VB, Steven WH: The absorption spectrum of liquid phase H20 and D20 from 0.7 μm to 10 μm. Infrared Phys 3: 211 – 223, 1963.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fava G, Emanuelli H, Cascinelli N, et al: C02 laser: beam patterns in relation to the surgical use. Lasers Surg Med 2: 331 – 341, 1983.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Fidler JP, Law E, MacMillan BG, et al: Comparison of C02 laser excision of burns with other thermal knives. Ann NY Acad Sci 267: 254 – 261, 1977.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Maeda R, Satoru L, Ninsakul N: Instrumentation development for safe operation with C02 laser, in Kaplan I, Ascher PW (eds): Proceedings III International Congress on Laser Surgery, Graz, Jerusalem, Academic Press, 1979, pp 47 – 56.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Snow JC, Norton HL: Lasers and anesthesia. J Am Assoc Nurse Anesthet 43: 464 – 469, 1975.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Snow JC, Norton HL, Saluja TS, et al: Fire hazard during C02 laser microsurgery on the larynx and trachea. Anesth Analg Curr Res 55: 146 – 147, 1976.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Vourch G, Tanneres ML, Freche G: Anesthesia for microsurgery of the larynx. Anaesthesia 34: 53 – 57, 1979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Cabal C, Caillard JF: Risques liés à l’utilisation du rayon laser. Arch Mai Prof 36: 545– 546, 1975.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sliney DH, Frazier BC: Evaluation of optical radiation hazards. Appl Optics 12: 1 – 24, 1973.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mackeen D, Fine S, Feigu L, et al: Anterior chamber measurement on C02 laser corneal irradiation. Invest Ophthalmol 9: 366 – 371, 1970.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fuller TB: The physics of surgical laser. Lasers Surg Med 1: 5 – 14, 1980.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Department of Army and Navy: Control of Hazard to Health from Laser Radiation. Washington D.C., TB MED. 279/NAV MED. P–5032–35, 1969.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Goldman L, Rockwell RJ, Fidler JP, et al: Investigative laser surgery: safety aspects. Biomed Eng 4: 415 – 418, 1969.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Bellina JH, Stjernholm R, Kurpel JE: Biochemical analysis of carbon dioxide plume emission from irradiated tumors, in Bellina JH (ed): Gynecologic Laser Surgery, Proceedings of the International Congress on Gynecologic Laser Surgery and Related Works. New York, Plenum Press, 1981, pp 17 – 25.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    American National Standards Institute Inc. (ANSI). Committee on the Safe Use of Lasers: American National Standard for the Safe Use of Lasers. Z 136.1. New York, 1979.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph H. Bellina
    • 1
  • Gaetano Bandieramonte
    • 2
  1. 1.Laser Research FoundationNew OrleansUSA
  2. 2.National Cancer Institute of MilanMilanItaly

Personalised recommendations