Clear eyewear protection grants

doctors and patients a clear field of view during surgical

procedures, such as those in dentistry

user. Therefore, combination filters are now often requested from the laser system manufacturer to avoid this risk for the customer.’

Beam barriers As with industrial laser systems, multiple types of physical protection are deployed in medicine to protect those in the vicinity of the laser. Unlike industrial manufacturing, however, medicine often requires that these barriers are moved between rooms and patients on a regular basis. ‘If you have a laser system set up in a hospital, say in a GP’s office, an entire area needs to be cordoned off,’ said Saxon. ‘The advantage of a laser safety curtain is it can be drawn when needed, and anyone outside | @electrooptics

the curtain won’t need eye protection.’ Laser Components offers Flexguard, a

portable curtain barrier made with PT- 250WB, a flexible fabric material that can block wavelengths between 190–11,100nm at a power density of 2.5MW/m2

. The

hinges of the barrier are coated in the same PT-250WB fabric as the rest of the curtain, allowing multiple sections to be linked together without compromising safety. As an extra safety measure, barrier designers have to ensure that, in the unlikely scenario of a passer by gaining line-of-sight to the cordoned off work area from outside the barrier, they won’t be at risk of injury. ‘The curtains and the barriers can have an interlock system on them as well – they have a wire coming out of them

that is woven through the contacting strip, which goes between the panels or between the panels and a wall. If that’s broken the laser will turn off,’ explained Saxon. Interlock safety systems are a common

feature in medical lasers, according to Bailey of Pro-Lite. ‘Medical lasers tend to have foot paddle interlocks, so a paddle needs to be pushed down to activate the laser, or an interlock where it has to be pressed against skin to activate,’ he explained. Manual interlock systems allow lasers to be switched off instantaneously without needing a free hand to do so. For operations that use a fibre to deliver a laser beam inside the body, such as the removal of a kidney stone, this means that the laser can be switched off before the

March 2017 Electro Optics 31



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