Lasers Successfully Embedded in Human Cells

7. 23. 15 by Andrew Tieu
  • Researchers have found a way to insert lasers into living human cells. It is not a new idea, but until now, the lasers used optical resonators that were bigger than the cell. This effort expands on previous research that used the green fluorescent proteins of jellyfish and introduced them into human cells, amplifying them using an optical resonator.
  • This new approach, however, has cells intake a micro-resonator that uses a whispering gallery mode — traveling around concave surfaces — to form a bubble inside of the cell. The laser beam excites the fluorescent dye within the resonator, causing the light to bounce around the bubble and amplify and illuminate it. This light is emitted at different wavelengths, with color depending on bubble size and refractive index.
  • The procedure allows scientists to modify large numbers of cells for long periods of time (several weeks), allowing them to use it to distinguish between many tracking cells within an organism. The cells could give us information such as how cancer cells grow, intracellular sensing, and adaptive imaging.

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