Non-obstructive intracellular nanolasers

Alasdair Fikouras, Marcel Schubert, Markus Karl, Jothi Dinesh Kumar, Simon John Powis, Andrea Di Falco, Malte Christian Gather

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Molecular dyes, plasmonic nanoparticles and colloidal quantum dots are widely used in biomedical optics. Their operation is usually governed by spontaneous processes, which results in broad spectral features and limited signal-to-noise ratio, thus restricting opportunities for spectral multiplexing and sensing. Lasers provide the ultimate spectral definition and background suppression, and their integration with cells has recently been demonstrated. However, laser size and threshold remain problematic. Here, we report on the design, high throughput fabrication and intracellular integration of semiconductor nanodisk lasers. By exploiting the large optical gain and high refractive index of GaInP/AlGaInP quantum wells, we obtain lasers with volumes 1000-fold smaller than the eukaryotic nucleus (Vlaser<0.1 µm3), lasing thresholds 500-fold below the pulse energies typically used in two-photon microscopy (Eth≈0.13 pJ), and excellent spectral stability (<50 pm wavelength shift). Multiplexed labelling with these lasers allows cell-tracking through micro-pores, thus providing a powerful tool to study cell migration and cancer invasion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4817
Number of pages7
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2018


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