Researchers found a way to create lasers smaller than red blood cells. These microlasers convert infrared light into light at higher frequencies. Made from nanoparticles, these are among the smallest, continuously emitting lasers of their kind ever reported.
The lasers constantly and stably emit light for hours at a time. They emit the light even when submerged in blood serum or other biological fluids.
The tiny lasers are stable enough to operate continuously for days. This breakthrough will enable technologies for imaging or controlling biological activity with infrared light. In addition, these tiny lasers open doors to make light-based computer chips.
An international team of researchers led by scientists at the Molecular Foundry has found a way to convert nanoparticle-coated microscopic plastic beads into lasers smaller than red blood cells.These microlasers, which convert infrared light into light at higher frequencies, are among the smallest, continuously emitting lasers of their kind ever reported and constantly and stably emit light for hours at a time, even when submerged in biological fluids such as blood serum.
The innovation opens up the possibilities for imaging or controlling biological activity with infrared light and for the fabrication of light-based computer chips.
In this study (Nature Nanotechnology“Continuous-wave upconverting nanoparticle microlasers”), the researchers found that when an infrared laser excites thulium-doped nanoparticles coated on the surface of the beads, the light emitted by the nanoparticles bounces around the inner surface of the bead just like whispers bouncing along the walls of a whispering gallery.

Image Credit:  Berkeley Lab

Read more at nanowerk.com

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