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Proceedings Paper

The Medical Free Electron Laser Program
Author(s): Charles L Houston
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Paper Abstract

We owe the development of the free electron laser (FEL) to Dr. John M.J. Madey, formerly of Stanford University, and now at Duke University. In the early years of the research that lead ultimately to the device that actually produced coherent light, Dr. Madey had to work diligently to procure adequate funding for his FEL project. Sometimes it is much more difficult to find the appropriate funding source then it is to actually perform the research. After working with various basic research organizations, the Office of Naval Research, the Army Research Organization, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and others, to develop and test the basic scientific principles of the FEL, Dr. Madey looked to the future of the device. The FEL is indeed one of the principal defensive directed energy weapons under development in the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). However, Dr. Madey felt that the FEL could and should be used in the medical arena. The unique capabilities of the FEL certainly lend themselves to enhancing the practice of medicine which already uses lasers in the treatment of disease and in surgery. Dr. Madey and several physicians who also felt that the FEL belonged at least in medical research traveled to Washington, D.C., to visit the Congress and acquaint them with the potential of the FEL.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 August 1989
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 1064, Thermal and Optical Interactions with Biological and Related Composite Materials, (8 August 1989); doi: 10.1117/12.951940
Show Author Affiliations
Charles L Houston, USAF (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1064:
Thermal and Optical Interactions with Biological and Related Composite Materials
Michael J. Berry; George M. Harpole, Editor(s)

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