There is a need for effective cutting systems for generating fine-scale cuts into bone during orthopaedic surgery. Various approaches have been tried, including for example ultrasonic devices, but so far no appropriate technique has been identified other than mechanical saws and drills for larger, much rougher cutting. More effective cutting tools require that the cutting dimensions (width/depth) are controllable, such that the device does not affect surrounding tissue and does not damage the bone outside of the cutting region.
Lasers are often used for surgery, but they have not worked well for bones because they cause local heating which develops unwanted fractures. Modern femtosecond (fs, 10-15 sec) pulse lasers were developed for machining fine holes in metal (e.g. 100 micrometre fuel injector holes) because the pulses are so short they do not locally heat. A laser diagnostic group at the School of Engineering possesses a Ti:Sapphire fs laser (pulse width is 35 fs; 30 mJ pulse energy; 1 kHz repetition rate) and we are exploring the possibility to use it in a research project within University Hospitals. This project will involve investigation of laser cutting processes, understanding of how the pulse removes material, investigation of any potential interferences (e.g. will the pulse be absorbed too much by water, how does it interact with blood etc.), and design of an optical system that could potentially produce the desired cut. Experiments using a sample of bone will eventually be performed.
This exciting PhD opportunity comprises of multi-disciplinary research between physics, engineering and medicine. A strong candidate should have a master’s degree in Physical Sciences, Engineering, or Biology. Competencies in optics or laser systems will be positively considered.
Candidates who are interested should directly contact Dr. Brian Peterson (School of Engineering; email@example.com) or Prof. Hamish Simpson (Edinburgh Medical School; Hamish.Simpson@ed.ac.uk).
Closing date: 31st August 2020 or until position filled.
This exciting PhD opportunity comprises multi-disciplinary research between physics, engineering and medicine. A strong candidate should have a master’s degree in Physical Sciences, Engineering, or Biology. Competencies in optics or laser systems will be positively considered.
Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.
Funding (tuition fees and stipend) is available for UK students and EU students who have lived in the UK for 3+ years. EU students who have not lived in the UK for 3+ years are only eligible for tuition fees and not stipend.