2 Minutes with Martin Bernier
May 21, 2012
Martin Bernier has combined fibre-optic technology, traditionally associated with telecommunications, with lasers to develop applications that improve patient care. Optical fibres have become a part of everyday life. Modern telecommunications depend on these strands of glass or plastic to transmit light as information, connecting us to the Internet, for example. Bernier's research explores other potential uses of fibre-optic technology—surgery and dentistry.
I have always been interested in physics. In fact, I had various areas of interest. Optics was one of them when I was a CEGEP student. So optics was a field that interested me, but there was also vacuum technology, there were various areas of physics that interested me. Then I was lucky enough to get a job, to get an interesting job offer in optics, and that enabled me to greatly advance my knowledge in photonics. Then it was natural for me to continue with a bachelor's degree with an emphasis on optics.
Overall, our technology, our key innovation has been to develop a new technique for modifying optical fibres and integrating a mirror inside the optical fibre. The mirror then becomes very robust and this technique, in the type of optical fibres we made, was unprecedented. There were many ways to build on that innovation, and one could develop it various ways, and of these ways is to develop a fibre laser, which is ideal for biomedical applications. Water absorption and tissue absorption is high, making the fibre laser an extremely effective tool for the laser cutting of skin and teeth. Doctors can then perform minimally invasive dental and cosmetic surgery, and that will improve patient care in the medium term.
Obviously, the Innovation Challenge Award encourages me, underlines the work that has been done. It is motivating to be able to develop a business further and advance the commercialization of the product of our innovation.