Cellular dye lasers: lasing thresholds and sensing in a planar resonator

Matjaž Humar, Malte Christian Gather, Seok-Hyun Yun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Biological cell lasers are promising novel building blocks of future biocompatible optical systems and offer new approaches to cellular sensing and cytometry in a microfluidic setting. Here, we demonstrate a simple method for providing optical gain by using a variety of standard fluorescent dyes. The dye gain medium can be located inside or outside a cell, or in both, which gives flexibility in experimental design and makes the method applicable to all cell types. Due to the higher refractive index of the cytoplasm compared to the surrounding medium, a cell acts as a convex lens in a planar Fabry-Perot cavity. Its effect on the stability of the laser cavity is analyzed and utilized to suppress lasing outside cells. The resonance modes depend on the shape and internal structure of the cell. As proof of concept, we show how the laser output modes are affected by the osmotic pressure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27865-27879
Number of pages14
JournalOptics Express
Issue number21
Early online date14 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2015


  • Dye lasers
  • Cell analysis
  • Biological sensing and sensors


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