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In the Future, Human Cells May Shoot Lasers

Posted on December 28, 2011
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Shooting lasers out of your eyes? Well, that may happen.

For the past four years, two physicists from Massachusetts General Hospital have been working on a project that would make human cells behave like a laser. Yun Seok-Hyun and Malte Gather are able to generate “human laser” using the same components found in all lasers: a pump source that provides the initial light energy; an optical cavity that concentrates the light from the pump source to a beam; and a gain medium that makes electrons excited until reaching a higher-energy state and release that energy simultaneously as a laser beam.

In the project, Yun and Gather used a human kidney cell and modified it to produce green fluorescent protein (GFP), the stuff that makes some species of animals bioluminescent. The GFP is used as the gain medium. This modified cell was then cultured to multiply and placed one between two mirrors, thus creating an optical cavity. Pulses of blue light from a miniature laser (the pump source) were sent through the cell, where it bounced between the mirrors. The cell glowed green and laser light shot out in the process, although at microscopic level.

The physicists hope that this technology can be used to activate cancer treatment drugs using photodynamic therapy. Doctors could inject light-sensitive compounds into a patient’s bloodstream to look for tumors and cancer cells. Traditionally, these compounds are activated externally and this development in procedure would make photodynamic therapy more precise.

Source: Popular Science

 
 

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[...] Shooting lasers out of your eyes? Well, that may happen. For the past four years, two physicists from Massachusetts General Hospital have been working on a project that would make human cells behave like a… [Read More] [...]

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