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article imageRevolutionary Laser Technique Can Destory AIDS Virus

By Bob Ewing     Nov 1, 2007 in Science
According to the Institute of Physics, Arizona State University has designed a "laser technique which can destroy viruses and bacteria such as AIDS without damaging human cells and may also help reduce the spread of hospital infections such as MRSA."
A laser technique that is being referred to as revolutionary, because of its ability to destroy viruses and bacteria such as AIDS without damaging human cells, may also help reduce the spread of hospital infections such as MRSA.
The laser was designed by a team of physicists from Arizona State University. Their paper, which was published on Thursday November 1 in the Institute of Physics’ Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, discusses how the pulses from an infrared laser can be fine-tuned to discriminate between problem microorganisms and human cells.
The laser treatments, such as UV, that are currently being used, are indiscriminate and can cause ageing of the skin, damage to the DNA or, at worst, skin cancer, as well as being far from 100 per cent effective
According to the press release, femtosecond laser pulses, through a process called Impulsive Stimulated Raman Scattering (ISRS), produces lethal vibrations in the protein coat of microorganisms, thereby destroying them. The effect of the vibrations is similar to that of high-pitched noise shattering glass.
Professor K. T. Tsen from Arizona State University said, “Although it is not clear at the moment why there is a large difference in laser intensity for inactivation between human cells and microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses, the research so far suggests that ISRS will be ready for use in disinfection and could provide treatments against some of the worst, often drug-resistant, bacterial and viral pathogens.”
The research team conducted experiments in order to demonstrate that the coherent vibrations excited by infrared lasers with carefully selected wavelengths and pulse widths do no damage to human cells. This most likely occurs because of the different structural compositions in the protein coats of human cells vis a vis bacteria and viruses.
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