Jellyfish protein leads to world's first biological laser

Living laser lights up lab

It might not look like much  but it s a living laser

Scientists have unveiled the world's first 'living laser', having coaxed an organic cell into emitting fluorescent light.

It was the glowing jellyfish that illuminated the light bulb above the researchers' heads, and the lasing cell was engineered using the light-emitting protein found in the sea creature.

It then requires a spot of light manipulation; the cell is immersed in a weak blue light, leaving the scientists with a "bright, directional and narrowband laser emission" as researchers Malte C Gather and Seok Hyun Yun so passionately put it.

Lasing action

What's more, the cell is able to go on living even after prolonged lasing action.

Until now, as the researchers point out, all lasers have used artificial materials including doped crystals, semi-conductors, synthetic dyes and purified gases.

While the biological beam could have implications for medical laser use, we'd like to suggest a commercial use for such research: the invention of Cyclops-style laser eyes. We'd buy them.

From Nature.com via BBC