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B. A New Laser Helps Produce Stronger Hip Implants

Narrator: This is Science Today. A new, high powered glass laser may have a great impact in the medical field. Lloyd Hackel, a laser physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory says metals treated, or peened, with this laser are up to five times stronger than those compressed using metal balls. One of the medical components which may greatly benefit from laser peening are the titanium joints used in hip implants.

Hackel: Those go under a lot of cycles of flexing and you just don't want them to fatigue and wear out because it means a person has to undergo another very expensive operation. If we can peen these parts and get them to last three to five times longer, that's an enormous benefit to the person with the hip implant.

Narrator: The Lab's glass laser is much faster than lasers developed in the past.

Hackel: This laser can shoot like ten times a second and so we can process potentially in the peening, up to a meter square of area per hour and that's 20 to 50 times faster than any laser of this type that you could go buy.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.