«

»

Jun 25

[Redacted] Project – Freakin’ Lasers

  • Sharebar

If I were creating the world I wouldn’t mess about with butterflies and daffodils. I would have started with lasers, eight o’clock, Day One!

Yup,that’s it. A single little cell.

A single human embryonic kidney cell, engineered together with green flourescent protein originally found in jellyfish. But when researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachussets General Hospital put it between two mirrors 20 micrometers apart and flashed some blue light pulses at it, they made a very small laser.

See, lasers work like this: external energy (the gain medium) is excited through matter into a more engerized state inside an optical cavity. Semiconductors, gasses, or crystals are usually used for this, but these researchers used the green fluorescent protein from the jellyfish. As light passes back and forth between the mirrors, they gain increasing energy levels as they pass through the optical cavity, or in this case, the cell.

The end result looks something like this, but less cartoony. The cell used in the experiment survived, producing hundreds of pulses of laser emissions.

The next step for researchers is to build the mirrors into the cell, creating a self-contained apparatus.

What does this mean for us? Well, future applications include cell research and internal imaging, advanced interactions between biological organisms and technological devices, and my personal favorite, the ability to shoot laser beams from my eyes. Given the color, it appears that Cyclops should have had an emerald visor rather than a ruby one.

Read more:

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110612/full/news.2011.365.html

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-06/mgh-sgc061011.php

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2011/06/a-cell-becomes-a-laser.html

If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my lab. Please send down two large pizzas, and the first season of Sliders!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>