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Laser technique used to build micro-polymeric structure on a human hair, without harming it

e could accomplish the same with other biological materials. One could imagine, for instance, building devices directly on skin, blood vessels, and eventually even a living cell. While this idea is currently in the realm of science fiction, our results represent an important step in that direction.

"On the level of individual cells, one can imagine making devices that can tether cells to a surface or to each other, or that allow the delivery of particular chemicals to the cell, or that monitor processes within the cell," explained Fourkas. "On a larger scale, if the same sort of structures can be constructed from biocompatible materials one can imagine applications in drug delivery and medical monitoring, among other areas."

Three-dimensional structures created with this technique also have the potential to be used in other miniature devices, such as optical communications hardware: fiber optics and the hardware that is used to interface them with electronics.

"While there are applications of the technique we used in the optical communications area that are being pursued by us and by others, writing a structure on a hair does not have direct bearing on optical communications," Fourkas said. "On the other hand, we can and have done exactly the same sort of thing on optical fibers that are of comparable size, and this does have direct bearing."


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Contact: John Fourkas
fourkas@bc.edu
617-552-3611
Boston College
3-May-2004


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