Researchers at Seoul University, South Korea recently discovered that an erbium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet laser (Er:Yag) may be the key to pain-free injections. The Er:Yag is able to deliver the medication without splash-back or absorbing the drug, both problems that other jet-based systems were faced with.
The drug is delivered in liquid form through a small adaptor. It also contains a chamber filled with water, which is used as a 'driving fluid'. A flexible membrane is used to separate both the medication and water. Each laser pulse, which lasts just 250 millionths of a second, generates a vapor bubble inside the driving fluid. The pressure of that bubble puts elastic strain on the membrane, causing the drug to be forcefully ejected from a miniature nozzle in a narrow jet a mere 150 millionths of a meter (micrometers) in diameter. The laser is no larger than a human hair and the drug is delivered through a tiny stream below the skins surface. See a demonstration of how the the drug is delivered here.
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