Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Christian G. Parigger

Committee Members

Lloyd M. Davis, James W. L. Lewis, Jack W. Buchanan, Robert Splinter


The goal of the presented study is the investigation of the feasibility of using optically generated acoustic waves for analysis of dental material below laser-ablation threshold.

The temperature rise of dental material and tissue has been modeled analytically and numerically, and measured experimentally. Following interactions with nano- and femto-second laser radiation the temperature rises at a rate of typically 1 ±C per J=cm2, along with the generation of an acoustical wave. The results from the models agree with the experiment. The acoustic measurements show differences in the acoustic signal strength and the frequency spectrum when the canal in the porcelain phantom is empty or filled with intralipid solution.

The photo-acoustic technique is found to be suitable for detection of liquids under a layer of dental porcelain material, consequently it can be the basis for building an imaging tool for dental diagnostic applications. By generating sound waves in the pulp, one would be able to evaluate it's state and the overall health of the tooth. This is of vital importance for diagnosing initial-stage inflammation.

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