Characterization of picosecond laser-induced optical breakdown using harmonic generation microscopy

Connie Liu, Pei Jhe Wu, Shih Hsuan Chia, Chi Kuang Sun*, Yi Hua Liao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objectives: By creating microinjuries usually confined to the epidermis, a fractional picosecond 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser that delivers an array of highly focused beamlets can be effectively used for facial rejuvenation or resurfacing. However, the mechanism of dermal remodeling underlying this nonablative treatment remains unclear. Methods: Five participants having skin phototype III−IV were recruited for intervention using a fractional picosecond 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser system equipped with a holographic diffractive beam-splitting optic. The laser-induced histopathological changes on human skin were examined in vivo using a harmonic generation microscopy (HGM), visualizing second harmonic generation (SHG), and third harmonic generation (THG) contrasts dichromatically. SHG refers for collagen distribution, while THG represents for epidermal components in the HGM signal. Results: Histological hematoxylin and eosin staining and in vivo HGM imaging studies revealed the presence of epidermal vacuoles below the stratum granulosum along with keratinocyte degeneration or cytolysis. In addition to the epidermal vacuoles, HGM imaging exclusively demonstrated laser-induced shock wave propagation arranged as a THG-bright concentric pattern in the epidermis and loss of SHG signals in the papillary dermis immediately beneath the epidermal vacuoles. Conclusions: Alongside generating epidermal vacuoles, the fractional picosecond 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser induced collagen changes. These collagen changes may lead to dermal remodeling and neocollagenesis underlying the fractional picosecond laser treatment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • fractional picosecond Nd:YAG laser
  • harmonic generation microscopy
  • laser-induced optical breakdown


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