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May 30, 2023
Science and Medical

Star Trek-like Tech Seals Wounds with a Laser

In early tests, this laser-activated silk and gold material held wounds together better than stitches or glue

On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Commander Riker had an impressive ability to receive head wounds. Luckily for him, Dr. Crusher could whip out the “dermal regenerator,” a handheld sci-fi tool that healed skin wounds with a colorful laser.

Luckily for us, Kaushal Rege and colleagues at Arizona State University are developing essentially the same thing. Well, close enough. In a new paper out from the journal Advanced Functional Materials, the engineers successfully repaired animal wounds with a silk and gold nanomaterial activated by a laser.

In this proof-of-concept study, the technology quickly sealed soft-tissue wounds in pig intestines and on mice skin. In the pig intestines, for example, the seal proved to be roughly seven times stronger than traditional sutures.

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