Surgery by Sunlight

Amplifying solar energy can create a laserlike device able to kill most cancerous tumors.

By Lauren Gravitz|Saturday, March 01, 2003
RELATED TAGS: GADGETS

Jeffrey Gordon, a mechanical engineer at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, and his colleagues have created a solar-powered tool that could perform laserlike surgeries at one-hundredth the cost.

The device collects sunlight in a mirrored dish, concentrating it by a factor of 10,000, and then transports the beam to an operating room through an optical fiber. A six-minute-long exposure can excise almost one-fifth of a cubic inch of tissue, enough to kill most cancerous tumors.

Gordon came up with the idea while visiting his university hospital, which has two laser-surgery units that cost $130,000 each. He realized solar energy could provide an affordable alternative and created his sun-driven prototype for $9,000; future versions should cut the cost to $1,000.

He has demonstrated clean incisions on chicken breasts and livers and is beginning to test solar surgery on live rats.

The device cannot match the collimation of a laser, and it depends on sunshine. "But in most Sunbelt climates, there are at least 250 days out of the year when it's viable," Gordon says.



 
ADVERTISEMENT
Comment on this article
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
DSC-CV0517web
+