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Publication numberUS20070106285 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/272,571
Publication dateMay 10, 2007
Filing dateNov 9, 2005
Priority dateNov 9, 2005
Also published asCA2629108A1, EP1945122A2, EP1945122A4, EP2581060A1, WO2007056486A2, WO2007056486A3
Publication number11272571, 272571, US 2007/0106285 A1, US 2007/106285 A1, US 20070106285 A1, US 20070106285A1, US 2007106285 A1, US 2007106285A1, US-A1-20070106285, US-A1-2007106285, US2007/0106285A1, US2007/106285A1, US20070106285 A1, US20070106285A1, US2007106285 A1, US2007106285A1
InventorsFerenc Raksi
Original AssigneeFerenc Raksi
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Laser scanner
US 20070106285 A1
Abstract
A laser scanner is disclosed. The laser scanner comprises a laser source, a first optical element, and a focusing element. The first optical element is adapted to move along the optical axis of light from the laser source. The focusing element receives laser light from the first optical element and is adapted to move orthogonally to the optical axis. Optionally, the focusing element may include multiple focusing lenses. A first focusing lens may be adapted to move along a first axis which is orthogonal to the optical axis. A second focusing lens may be adapted to move along a second axis which is orthogonal to the optical axis and to the first axis. The laser scanner may also include a second optical element which receives light from the focusing element and is adapted to effectively increase the focal length of the focusing element without increasing its f number.
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Claims(31)
1. A laser scanner comprising:
a laser source;
a first optical element adapted to move along an optical axis of light from the laser source;
a focusing element receiving laser light from the first optical element, wherein the focusing element is adapted to move orthogonally to the optical axis; and
a second optical element receiving laser light from the focusing element, wherein the second optical element is adapted to effectively increase a focal length of the focusing element without increasing the f number of the focusing element.
2. The laser scanner of claim 1 further comprising a collimating lens optically disposed between the first optical element and the focusing element.
3. The laser scanner of claim 1, wherein the focusing element comprises a first focusing lens adapted to move along a first axis, the first axis being orthogonal to the optical axis.
4. The laser scanner of claim 3, wherein the focusing element further comprises a second focusing lens adapted to move along a second axis, the second axis being orthogonal to the first axis and to the optical axis.
5. The laser scanner of claim 1, wherein the second optical element has a refractive index which is greater than one.
6. The laser scanner of claim 1 further comprising a mirror optically disposed between the focusing element and the second optical element, the mirror being adapted to pass light from the laser source and to reflect visible light.
7. A laser scanner comprising:
a laser source;
a scanning lens adapted to move along an optical axis of light from the laser source;
first and second focusing lenses receiving laser light from the scanning lens, wherein the first focusing lens is adapted to move along a first axis, the first axis being orthogonal to the optical axis, and the second focusing lens is adapted to move along a second axis, the second axis being orthogonal to the first axis and to the optical axis; and
an optical element receiving laser light from the focusing lenses, wherein the optical element has a refractive index which is greater than one.
8. The laser scanner of claim 7 further comprising a collimating lens optically disposed between the scanning lens and the first focusing lens.
9. A laser scanner comprising:
a laser source;
a scanning lens adapted to move along an optical axis of light from the laser source;
a collimating lens receiving laser light from the scanning lens;
first and second focusing lenses receiving laser light from the collimating lens, wherein the first focusing lens is adapted to move along a first axis, the first axis being orthogonal to the optical axis, and the second focusing lens is adapted to move along a second axis, the second axis being orthogonal to the first axis and to the optical axis;
an block of refractive material receiving laser light from the focusing lenses; and
a mirror optically disposed between the focusing element and the block of refractive material, the mirror being adapted to pass light from the laser source and to reflect visible light.
10. A method of scanning light from a laser source, the method comprising:
directing light from the laser source through an optical system to a focal point, the optical system comprising, in optical alignment, a scanning lens, a focusing element, and an optical element, wherein the optical element is adapted to effectively increase a focal length of the focusing element without increasing the f number of the focusing element;
moving the scanning lens along a z-axis to adjust a depth of the focal point along the z-axis; and
moving the focusing element in a plane orthogonal to the z-axis to adjust a position of the focal point relative to the z-axis.
11. The method of claim 10, wherein the focusing element comprises first and second focusing lenses.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein moving the focusing element includes moving the first focusing lens along a first axis, the first axis being orthogonal to the z-axis.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein moving the focusing element includes moving the second focusing lens along a second axis, the second axis being orthogonal to the z-axis and to the first axis.
14. The method of claim 10, wherein the optical element has a refractive index which is greater than one.
15. A method of scanning light from a laser source, the method comprising:
directing light from the laser source through an optical system to a focal point, the optical system comprising, in optical alignment, a scanning lens, a collimating lens, first and second focusing lenses, and an optical element, wherein the optical element has a refractive index which is greater than one;
moving the scanning lens along a z-axis to adjust a depth of the focal point along the z-axis;
moving the first focusing lens along a first axis to adjust a position of the focal point relative to the z-axis, the first axis being orthogonal to the z-axis; and
moving the second focusing lens along a second axis to further adjust a position of the focal point relative to the z-axis, the second axis being orthogonal to the z-axis and to the first axis.
16. A laser scanner system for ophthalmic laser surgery, the system comprising:
a laser source;
optics adapted to direct light from the laser source toward an eye, the optics comprising:
a first optical element adapted to move along an optical axis of light from the laser source;
a focusing element receiving laser light from the first optical element, wherein the focusing element is adapted to move orthogonally to the optical axis;
a second optical element receiving laser light from the focusing element, wherein the second optical element is adapted to effectively increase a focal length of the focusing element without increasing the f number of the focusing element;
a mirror optically disposed between the focusing element and the second optical element, the mirror being adapted to pass light from the laser source and to reflect visible light; and
a view port optically coupled to the mirror to receive the reflected visible light.
17. The system of claim 16, wherein the optics further comprises a collimating lens optically disposed between the first optical element and the focusing element.
18. The system of claim 16, wherein the focusing element comprises a first focusing lens adapted to move along a first axis, the first axis being orthogonal to the optical axis.
19. The system of claim 18, wherein the focusing element further comprises a second focusing lens adapted to move along a second axis, the second axis being orthogonal to the first axis and to the optical axis.
20. The system of claim 16, wherein the second optical element has a refractive index which is greater than one.
21. The system of claim 16, wherein the mirror is adapted to reflect an image of the eye.
22. The system of claim 16, wherein the view port comprises one or more magnifying lenses.
23. A laser scanner system for ophthalmic laser surgery, the system comprising:
a laser source;
optics adapted to direct light from the laser source toward an eye, the optics comprising:
a scanning lens adapted to move along an optical axis of light from the laser source;
first and second focusing lenses receiving laser light from the scanning lens, wherein the first focusing lens is adapted to move along a first axis, the first axis being orthogonal to the optical axis, and the second focusing lens is adapted to move along a second axis, the second axis being orthogonal to the first axis and to the optical axis;
an optical element receiving laser light from the focusing lenses, the optical element having a refractive index which is greater than one; and
a mirror optically disposed between the first and second focusing lenses and the optical element, the mirror being adapted to pass light from the laser source and to reflect an image of the eye; and
a view port optically coupled to the mirror to receive the image of the eye.
24. The system of claim 23 wherein the optics further comprises a collimating lens optically disposed between the first optical element and the first and second focusing lenses.
25. The system of claim 23, wherein the view port comprises one or more magnifying lenses.
26. A method of scanning a focal point of a laser during ophthalmic surgery, the method comprising:
scanning the focal point in a first direction, the first direction being substantially linear; and
simultaneously introducing an oscillatory motion to the scanned focal point, the oscillatory motion being in a second direction orthogonal to the first direction.
27. The method of claim 26, wherein scanning the focal point includes scanning the focal point in the first direction for a predetermined distance, and wherein the oscillatory motion has a period not greater than the predetermined distance.
28. The method of claim 26, wherein scanning the focal point includes scanning the focal point in the first direction for a predetermined distance, and wherein the oscillatory motion has an amplitude substantially less than the predetermined distance.
29. A method of scanning a focal point of a laser during ophthalmic surgery, the method comprising:
scanning the focal point in a predetermined scan pattern, the scan pattern having at least one substantially linear segment; and
introducing an oscillatory motion into the scan pattern during one or more of the linear segments.
30. The method of claim 29, wherein the oscillatory motion has a period not greater than the linear segment.
31. The method of claim 29, wherein the oscillatory motion has an amplitude substantially less than the linear segment.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The field of the present invention is laser scanners, particularly laser scanners that may be employed for ophthalmic laser surgery.

2. Background

Laser scanners for ophthalmic laser surgery generally utilize a pair of scanning mirrors to angularly deflect and scan the laser beam. Typically two scanning mirrors are employed, each scanning the laser along one of two orthogonal axes. A focusing objective, whether one lens or several lenses, images the laser beam onto a focal plane of the optical system. The focal point of the laser beam is thus scanned in two dimensions (x and y) within the focal plane of the optical system. Scanning along the third dimension, i.e., moving the focal plane along the optical axis (z-axis), may be achieved by moving the focusing objective, or one or more lenses within the focusing objective, along the optical axis.

The optical systems used to focus ophthalmic surgical lasers are generally quite complex. Such optical systems are typically required to have diffraction limited performance with a high numerical aperture (NA) and to scan the laser beam over an extended range. The moving mirrors that are typically used in such systems create significant design constraints because significantly high field angles are used during the scanning process, thus requiring optical correction for aberrations such as astigmatism, coma, and other higher order aberrations. In addition, since the beam is scanned angularly, off-axis aberrations of the objective are typically generated and require correction.

The optics required to correct the aberrations created in such laser scanners of the prior art tend to add to the weight and cost of the overall optical system. The overall cost added to such systems may be in the range of tens of thousands of dollars or more. The overall weight of laser scanners, with corrected optics, can be in the range of five kilograms or more. Such heavy systems are extremely difficult to manually position over a patient's eye. To compensate, motorized gantries are frequently employed to move the optics into position with the eye in a “docking” procedure. To assure patient safety during “docking”, and to prevent inadvertent movement of the motorized gantry, special safety electronics are included as part of such scanning systems. These additional electronics further increase the complexity and cost of the scanning system.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed towards a laser scanner. The laser scanner comprises a laser source and optics for scanning the focal point in three dimensions. The optics include optical elements for scanning the laser beam along three orthogonal axes and an optical element which extends the focal plane of the optics away from the focusing lens(es).

In a first separate aspect of the invention, a first optical element and a focusing element are included as part of the optics of the laser scanner. This first optical element is adapted to move along an optical axis of light from the laser source. The focusing element is adapted to move orthogonally to the optical axis. The focal plane depth of the optics may be adjusted through movement the first optical element. Further, the focusing element may include two focusing lenses, each adapted to move along two orthogonal axes, these axes also being orthogonal to the optical axis.

In a second separate aspect of the invention, an optical element within the optics of the laser scanner is adapted to effectively increase the focal length of an included focusing element without increasing the f number of the focusing element. Preferably, the refractive index of this optical element is greater than one.

In a third separate aspect of the invention, the laser scanner is incorporated into a system adapted for ophthalmic laser surgery and includes a mirror optically disposed between the focusing element and the eye on which the surgical procedure is conducted. This mirror is adapted to pass light from the laser source and to reflect visible light. The surgical system also includes a view port optically coupled to the mirror to receive the reflected visible light from the mirror. This view port optionally allows an attending surgeon to directly view the ophthalmic surgical laser procedure as it occurs. If desired, magnification optics may be included as part of the view port to facilitate viewing of the surgical procedure.

In a fourth separate aspect of the invention, the focal point of the laser is scanned in a manner which helps minimize the time needed to scan an entire area. The focal point is scanned along substantially linear path. During the scan along the path, an oscillatory motion is introduced to the scan path in a direction which is orthogonal to the path. In larger scan patterns, this technique may be employed for any linear or substantially linear segment of the scan pattern.

In a fifth separate aspect of the invention, any of the foregoing aspects may be employed in combination.

Accordingly, the present invention provides an improved laser scanner. Other objects and advantages will appear hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to similar components:

FIG. 1 schematically illustrates a laser scanner;

FIG. 2 illustrates the laser scanner of FIG. 1 and how movement of various optical elements enable scanning of the focal point in three dimensions;

FIG. 3 illustrates a first focal point scan pattern which may be advantageously realized using the laser scanner of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 illustrates a second focal point scan pattern which may be advantageously realized using the laser scanner of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 5 illustrates a raster scan in accordance with the prior art.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Turning in detail to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates a laser scanner 11 which may advantageously be used for ophthalmic laser surgery. The laser scanner 11 includes a laser source 13 and optics 15 for directing light from the laser source toward an eye 17, along with a view port 19 which enables the physician a view of the eye 17 as surgery proceeds. The laser source 13 may be of any type, but for purposes of ophthalmic laser surgery, the laser source 13 is preferably capable of generating a pulsed laser beam. One such laser source is described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,764,930, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. Further, the pulsed laser beam preferably has a pulse duration which is as long as a few nanoseconds or as short as a few femtoseconds.

Light emitted from the laser source 13 passes through the movable z-axis scanning lens 21, the collimating lens 23, the two movable focusing lenses 25, 27, the mirror 29, the block of refractive material 31, and the applanation lens 33 to a focal point 35 which is on or within the cornea of the eye 17. Unlike much of the prior art relating to laser scanners, the laser scanner 11 of FIG. 1 does not include any scanning mirrors. As such, light from the laser source is always on-axis as it passes through each optical element. Having an on-axis laser beam greatly reduces or eliminates the need to correct off-axis aberrations, astigmatism, and coma. Elimination of the need for corrective optics in turn reduces the overall weight of the laser scanner, thus making it possible to perform a manual “docking” procedure instead of requiring complex automation to perform the “docking” procedure. This also leads directly to a significant reduction in costs for such laser scanners, and particularly ophthalmic laser surgical equipment which incorporates such laser scanners.

While two focusing lenses 25, 27 are shown, a single movable focusing lens, or alternatively more than two focusing lenses, may be used. Regardless of how many lenses are used as the focusing objective, light from the laser source 13 is preferably focused to less than a 5 μm spot size.

The mirror 29 is transparent to the wavelength of light from the laser source 13, but reflective to light at visible wavelengths. This permits an image of the eye on which a procedure is being performed to be reflected by the mirror 29, toward the view port 19. The view port 19 includes a mirror 37 which directs the image toward magnification lenses 39, 41. Because the mirror 29 extracts the image of the eye 17 at a point between the eye 17 and the objective of the laser scanner optics, the amount of magnification required for the view port 19 is drastically reduced as compared to laser scanner systems of the prior art. While the mirror 29 is shown as a separate optical element from the block of refractive material 31, it may be incorporated into the block of refractive material 31 as a mirrored internal surface or as an interface between two pieces of refractive material, which together form the block of refractive material.

The block of refractive material 31 is included after the focusing objective of the laser scanner optics, i.e., the focusing lenses 25, 27, to effectively extend the focal length of the focusing lenses 25, 27. This is accomplished by using a block of refractive material with a refractive index which is greater than the refractive index of air. With the block of refractive material 31 in place, the actual focal length of the combined focusing lenses can be made relatively short, say on the order of 20 mm, without actually increasing the f number of the focusing lenses. By having focusing lenses with short focal lengths, the need to correct chromatic aberrations, which often arise from focusing optics with long focal lengths, is greatly reduced or eliminated. The effective focal length of the focusing lenses 25, 27, with the refractive material 31 in place, can be significantly lengthened. This facilitates focusing light from the surgical laser on or in the patient's eye from the end of the scanner.

The applanation lens 33 is included to facilitate use of the laser scanner 11 as part of a ophthalmic laser surgery system. The function of the applanation lens 33 is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,549,632, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. Other than as a basic block of refractive material disposed between the laser source 13 and the eye 17, the applanation lens 33 is not actively employed in to scan light from the laser across or within the cornea.

Turning to FIG. 2, the z-axis scanning lens 21 is movable along the optical axis 43 of the laser beam. Movement of this z-axis scanning lens 21 may be achieved by a drive mechanism (not shown), which may be of any type known to those skilled in the art, including galvanometers, stepper motors, rotational motors with lead-screw driven linear stages, linear motors, voice coil type linear actuators, piezo actuators, ultrasonic piezo ceramic motors, DC servo motors, and the like. The drive mechanism also preferably includes a feedback loop so that associated control electronics (not shown) can determine the position of the z-axis scanning lens 21 and control the movement thereof. By placing control of the z-axis scanning in a lens which is optically disposed outside of and before the focusing objective, finer control of the z-axis position of the focal point 35 is possible. In the prior art, the z-axis position of the focal point is typically controlled by z-axis movement of the focusing objective itself, giving rise to a 1:1 ratio between movement of the focusing objective and movement of the focal point. In contrast, using the configuration disclosed herein, ratios of 10:1, 100:1, 1000:1, or greater are possible.

Similarly, the first focusing lens 25 is moveable along the y-axis, and the second focusing lens 27 is movable along the x-axis. Movement of these two lenses may be accomplished and controlled in the same manner as movement and control of the z-axis scanning lens 21. Movement of each of these two focusing lenses 25, 27 along their respective axes results in scanning of the focal point 35 along those axes within the focal plane. Each of the focusing lenses 25, 27 are shown displaced along the x- and y-axes in FIG. 2, resulting in the focal point 35 being scanned to an off-axis position within the focal plane. In the event that a single focusing lens is employed, the single lens would be movable within the plane defined by the x- and y-axes, thereby permitting the focal point to be scanned across the entire focal plane.

Use of the described laser scanner within an ophthalmic laser surgery system and in conjunction with a computer to control the position and motion of the z-axis scanning lens and the two focusing lenses, permits fine control over the laser scanner so that the scanable focal point may be used to create surgical cuts on or within the cornea of the eye.

FIG. 3 illustrates a scan pattern which includes linear motion along one axis (the “fast axis”) and small amplitude, high frequency oscillations along the second, orthogonal axis (the “slow axis”). This type of scan pattern may be employed to effectively increase the coverage area of the laser scanner without requiring an increase in scan speed along the fast axis. Moreover, it may be employed during any essentially linear motion of the laser scanner, regardless of the actual scan direction. For a given linear speed, the effective coverage area is increased by approximately four times. The oscillatory motion along the slow axis may be achieved through the scanner motor(s) which drive the x-axis and/or y-axis scanning lens(es), or alternatively, it may be achieved by additional scanner motor(s) which superimpose the oscillatory motion on onto the linear motion of the scanning lens(es).

FIG. 4 shows how the oscillatory motion described above may be advantageously employed to increase the effective coverage area for each linear pass along the fast axis as compared to a common raster pattern, which is illustrated in FIG. 5. By reducing the number of passes necessary to scan the same area, the time needed to scan an entire area may be significantly reduced.

Thus, an improved laser scanner is disclosed. While embodiments of this invention have been shown and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that many more modifications are possible without departing from the inventive concepts herein. Particularly, light from the laser source is shown passing directly from one optical element to the next. The particular configuration of mirrors and lenses described herein, however, is merely illustrative of the optics underlying the laser scanner. Alternative embodiments, which may include additional or different optical elements to accommodate a desired mechanical or optical configuration, are possible. The invention, therefore, is not to be restricted except in the spirit of the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7887532Sep 5, 2006Feb 15, 2011Amo Development, Llc.System and method for resecting corneal tissue using non-continuous initial incisions
US8182471Feb 21, 2007May 22, 2012Amo Manufacturing Usa, Llc.Intrastromal refractive correction systems and methods
US8182472May 22, 2009May 22, 2012Amo Manufacturing Usa, Llc.Intrastromal refractive correction systems and methods
US8262647Jul 29, 2009Sep 11, 2012Alcon Lensx, Inc.Optical system for ophthalmic surgical laser
US8267925Jul 29, 2009Sep 18, 2012Alcon Lensx, Inc.Optical system for ophthalmic surgical laser
US8419721Jul 29, 2009Apr 16, 2013Alcon Lensx, Inc.Optical system for ophthalmic surgical laser
US8500725Jul 29, 2009Aug 6, 2013Alcon Lensx, Inc.Optical system for ophthalmic surgical laser
US8506559Nov 16, 2009Aug 13, 2013Alcon Lensx, Inc.Variable stage optical system for ophthalmic surgical laser
US8679100Jul 29, 2009Mar 25, 2014Alcon Lensx, Inc.Optical system with multiple scanners for ophthalmic surgical laser
US8746881Jul 27, 2011Jun 10, 2014Sie Ag, Surgical Instrument EngineeringDevice for processing eye tissue by a means of femtosecond laser pulses
US20120316544 *Jun 8, 2012Dec 13, 2012KeloTec, LLC, a California Incorporated LLCLaser delivery system for eye surgery
DE212011100060U1Mar 2, 2011Nov 15, 2012Optosystems Ltd. ZFP IOF RANOphthalmochirurgisches Lasersystem mit einem femtosekunden Laser
EP2412342A1 *Jul 29, 2010Feb 1, 2012SIE AG, Surgical Instrument EngineeringDevice for machining eye tissue using femtosecond laser pulses
WO2007106326A2Feb 26, 2007Sep 20, 2007Intralase CorpSystem and method for ophthalmic laser surgery on a cornea
WO2011017000A2 *Jul 21, 2010Feb 10, 2011Alcon Lensx, Inc.Optical system for ophthalmic surgical laser
WO2011017005A2 *Jul 21, 2010Feb 10, 2011Alcon Lensx, Inc.Optical system for ophthalmic surgical laser
WO2011017018A2 *Jul 22, 2010Feb 10, 2011Alcon Lensx, Inc.Optical system for ophthalmic surgical laser
WO2011017020A2 *Jul 22, 2010Feb 10, 2011Alcon Lensx, Inc.Optical system for ophthalmic surgical laser
WO2013077951A1 *Oct 16, 2012May 30, 2013Excelsius Medical, Inc.Ophthalmological laser method and apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification606/17, 606/5, 606/10
International ClassificationA61F9/008, A61B18/18
Cooperative ClassificationA61F2009/00897, G02B26/0875, A61F2009/00844, A61F2009/00872, A61F9/008, A61F9/009, G02B26/101
European ClassificationA61F9/008, G02B26/10B, G02B26/08R
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