A nanolaser developed by researchers can be used on living cells without damaging them. The nanolaser, created in collaboration with a team from Columbia University, can range in thickness from 50 to 150 nanometers, allowing it to fit and operate properly inside living cells. The tiny lasers function at energy orders of magnitude lower than those seen in other lasers today.
The ultrafast and low-power nanolaser can function in “extremely confined spaces,” such as quantum circuits and microprocessors. It is primarily composed of glass, which is biocompatible in and of itself. Additionally, while emitting at shorter wavelengths, the device can be activated by longer wavelengths of light.
For bioimaging, longer light wavelengths are required because they can reach deeper organs than photons with visible wavelengths. However, shorter wavelengths of light are frequently preferred in those same deep regions. They have developed an optically clean system to deliver visible laser light at penetration depths that are reachable by longer wavelengths.
The efficiency of nanolasers has generally been lower than that of macroscopic devices, and they are frequently powered by shorter wavelengths (such as UV light). Schuck claims that despite their high susceptibility to UV light harm and the excess heat produced by inefficient operation, unusual environments like inside living tissue have proven challenging for researchers to investigate.
Related Content: Electron Beams Miniaturize X-Ray Lasers