Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - LUSTRE (Ultra-fast Laser Surfacing of Teeth for Resistance to Erosion)

The project aim is to develop a system for the deposition and laser sintering of calcium phosphate mineral materials on the surface of teeth to replace eroded dental enamel and cure dental problems such as hypersensitivity caused by acid erosion. This aim involves tackling several individual objectives which can be summarised as follows:
• Development and characterisation of suitable calcium phosphate mineral materials compatible with both laser sintering and dental biology.
• Development of a new laser gain medium based on phosphate glass which is capable of producing ultrashort laser pulses in the wavelength range compatible with the mineral material.
• Development of a custom laser cavity using the new laser gain medium which has the pulse properties required for material sintering.
• Developing a prototype system for controllably depositing the mineral material and applying the laser radiation.
• Testing the resulting system in scenarios relevant to the final application and toxicological testing of the mineral materials.

Since the beginning of the project, the majority of the work has been focussed on the development of the calcium phosphate mineral material and trials to laser sinter it to dental substrates; development and testing of the new laser gain medium and design of the prototype materials delivery system.

Since the beginning of the project, the following achievements have been made:
• Calcium phosphate bio-mineral materials have been fabricated, characterised and studied for their laser sintering performance. The materials have been tuned to appropriately absorb laser radiation by doping with bio-compatible dopants with specific optical absorption features.
• New laser gain medium has been developed, purified, optimised and fabricated on a semi-commercial scale with very high quality.
• Laser emission of the new gain medium has been extensively characterised in the CW, Q-switched and mode-locked regimes.
• New glass based saturable absorber materials (required for pulsed laser operation) have been investigated.
• Prototype material delivery systems have been fabricated and characterised.

It is expected that the final outcomes of this project will be a demonstrator of a prototype system for the deposition and laser sintering of mineral material on a dental substrate, resulting in a surface which would be more resistant to acid erosion and alleviate the symptoms of sensitive teeth by mimicking the tooth’s natural enamel layer which can be removed due to erosion. The outcomes of this project will lead into further development of the system to higher TRLs, ultimately resulting in a system which can be used in dental hospitals and surgeries. The potential societal impact is enormous, especially when there is a growing worldwide problem of dental acid erosion due to high sugar content diets and increasingly ageing populations.

Reported by

United Kingdom


Life Sciences
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