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Biological lasers

In a recent report in Nature Photonics, Malte Gather and Seok-Hyun Yun, from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital produces the worlds first laser light from a living cell.

By adding eGFP (enhanced Green Fluorescent Protein) in 293ETN cells (a cell line derived from human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cells) and placing these cells between two mirrors, they were able to create laser light upon eGFP photo-activation. Normally, the cell will only glow in a manner most of us are used to. But if a threshold is met, the light output changes dramatically. The GFP-light becomes not only brighter, it also becomes directed, like the light of a laser beam. The cells survived this light treatment and light production phase for several minutes.

At the moment Gather and Yun are thinking of various ways of making use of this discovery. Has the time for cute kittens with laser eyes come?

Link to BBC article

Link to Scientific American article

Link to orignal paper.

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