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Silver Jubilee for the Laser MicroJet

Synova’s history begins when Bernold Richerzhagen, after obtaining his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from RWTH University Aachen in 1989, applied for a position in a research project at the EPFL’s Applied Optics Laboratory to develop a laser-based dental tool for the removal of caries.

By Nitin Shankar

His invention was based on the fusion of laser and water to drill tooth enamel. The laser beam was guided by total reflection within a fine water jet in the manner of an optical fiber. The laser provided the heat for ablation while the water cooled the material. This water jet-guided laser offered the advantage of a parallel cylindrical laser beam without any beam divergence that is inherent in other laser processes.After four years of extensive trials, Richerzhagen succeeded in coupling a high-power laser beam in a hair-thin water jet.

Richerzhagen obtained his doctorate in 1994. That same year and in the following years he was awarded patents for his water jet-guided laser beam process by the German and Europea patent offices.

Read the entire article here.