Laser Light in Biomedicine and the Life Sciences: From the Present to the Future
The progress made in various fields of science and technology, especially in the development of technical and instrumental tools, has always led, is now leading, and will undoubtedly continue to lead to new, useful, and sometimes revolutionary applications in medicine. As medicine penetrates to ever deeper organizational levels (cellular and molecular) in the human organism (levels that are closely similar in all living creatures), it evolves into biomedicine and becomes more closely connected with all the life sciences. Figure 5.1 depicts the “biomedical tools tree,” illustrating the applications of various tools and methods in biomedicine, from its origin in the Middle Ages to genetic engineering at present and into the future. Biomedical photonics, the subject of this volume, embraces a wide range of laser light applications in biomedical diagnostics at various levels of the organism, in therapy, and, finally, in surgery. In many applications laser light is exceptionally efficient and well matched to present-day advanced technology and to the human body — the object of all these applications.