A newly developed lateral scanning device working in r/φ-coordinates has been applied for dental hard tissue ablation with ultra-short laser pulses simulating the mechanical drill. The employed laser systems were a Yb:KYW thin disk laser operating at 1030 nm, 700 fs and 35 kHz and a Nd:YVO4 (vanadate) laser working at 1064 nm, 12 ps, 35 and 50 kHz respectively with pulse energies of 100 μJ. In the present study computer simulated energy distributions of different scan algorithms are compared to the shape of the ablated cavities. The morphology of the cavities is discussed. For the first time the ablation of dental restorative materials by scanned ultra-short laser pulses is investigated. Selectivity of the ablation mechanism and ablation rates of different composites are analyzed. The samples were observed by ESEM and light microscopy. For volume analysis digital micrograph reconstruction as well as density and mass measurements were performed. Ultra-short laser pulses combined with suitable scanning algorithms and appropriate laser parameters promise to be an excellent tool for dental surgery.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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