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Letfullin Helping Nanotechnology Pave Medical Frontiers

October 29, 2014

Letfullin Profile 1

Respected Educator: Renat Letfullin’s contributions in optics and, most recently, nanomedicine were recently recognized with his distinction as a Senior Member in SPIE, the international professional society for optics and optical engineering. (Photo by Shawn Spence)

Professor Renat Letfullin, PhD, makes the bold prediction that nano-sized devices will provide the pathway for nanomedicine to cure forms of cancer, greatly diminishing the effects of heart disease, and contribute to the battle against Alzheimer’s Disease.

“Nanomedicine is the future of medicine, and it is smart medicine,” says the associate professor of physics and optical engineering.

Nanomedicine is a multidisciplinary science, which involves physics, biology, chemistry, engineering, medicine, and other areas of science for diagnosis and treatment of diseases by means of nanotechnology.

“The ultimate goal of nanomedicine is to treat a human body at atomic and molecular levels like we are fixing conventional machines today,” says Letfullin. “Nanomedicine is a selective treatment method that has no side effects and no pain, and it can be done in a matter of seconds. It has the potential to defeat any disease, like cancer, for good.”

In theory, the process goes like this: Nanoparticles with particular antibody coatings attach to the abnormal cells of interest (possibly cancer). Once attached, nanoparticles can be heated with X-rays/ultraviolent/visible/infrared or radio frequency pulses, heating the surrounding area of the cell to the point of death.

Researchers often use single-pulse or multi-pulse lasers when conducting nanoparticle ablation research. The laser heating of nanoparticles is very sensitive to the time structure of the incident pulsed radiation, the time interval between the pulses, and the number of pulses used in the experiments.

“Nanomedicine will replace conventional medicine,” asserts Letfullin.

Letfullin’s contributions in optics, photonics, laser physics, nanophotonics, biophotonics, and, most recently, nanomedicine were recently recognized with his distinction as a Senior Member in SPIE, the international professional society for optics and optical engineering.

SPIE Senior Members are honored for their professional experience, active involvement with the optics community and SPIE, and significant performances in their career field.

One of Letfullin’s many discoveries, finding a new Optical Effect of Diffractive Multifocal Focusing of Waves: Plane and Spherical Waves, was named one of the 20 best optics discoveries of the 20th century.

Letfullin has 18 years teaching experience in all aspects of physics education at undergraduate and graduate levels, including supervision of master’s and doctorate students. He is in his 10th year as a professor at Rose-Hulman.

“Our students are top-notch, among the best in the world,” he says. “The students have the problem-solving skills and technical backgrounds to be the trailblazers in these new fields of nanomedicine.”

The National Science Foundation predicts that $1 trillion will be spent in the next 10-15 years in nanotechnology, and the nanotechnology sector will need two million workers and specialists.

“With such great facilities and faculty expertise in nanotechnology and MEMS, Rose-Hulman is helping lead this next wave. I’m excited to see how the future unfolds,” says Letfullin.

The Russian native, who is now an American citizen, has been editor of the International Journal of Theoretical Physics, Group Theory and Nonlinear Optics since 2009, has four patents in optical engineering and laser technology, and has new courses and laboratories in optics, biophotonics, nanotechnology, and nanomedicine.

Letfullin’s contributions to the fields of wave and quantum optics, fundamentals of lasers, and interaction of light with nanostructures and nanomedicine are reflected in his more than 150 papers, proceedings, and book chapters. He contributed a chapter on the topic “Nanomaterials in Nanomedicine” in the Springer Handbook of Nanomaterials, published in 2013, and will soon begin work on a new textbook on Nanotechnology and Nanomedicine.