Illuminating Proteins Warm-Up Less-Power Laser

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This study is from the researchers from Germany and Scotland who have utilized fluorescent protein of green colour, ideally known as GFP as a common tool for conducting biological imaging that is primarily derived from a group of jellyfish.

The material obtained from a group of jellyfish as an active substance in a polariton laser. It is an excellent type of laser that can be employed as a tag for identifying how cancer cells spread across the body, or could result in optical logic in PC chips, rapid transmission of data, or even conducting the process of quantum computing.

Aequorea Victoria jellyfish

Figure 1: Fluorescent protein of green colour

Nature has offered us with a great gift in the form of a substance that has traits that are extremely useful for this type of device,” says Malte Gather, a lecturer of physics at the University from St. Andrews, Scotland. With Sven Hofling, a physicist at St. Andrews and the Wurzburg’s University, Germany, he and his team members of the research panel detailed the study of their gadget in a recent science magazine.

Polariton lasers exhibit different functionalities than conventional lasers. They emphasize on polaritons, quasi-particles, which comprise of an electron-hole duo, also called as an exciton, coupled with a photon. When energy is generated into the system, the density of polaritons can boost enough to a level that allow them to synchronize with each other and create a condensate that then swiftly releases the energy as a ray of coherent photons.

Such release of photons can occur at energies much lesser than in conventional laser, as no massive inversion is needed for this to occur. So, less volume of energy is needed to operate them, which would be a specific advantage for effective communications on a computer chip.

But there is one issue with polariton lasers that the excitons tend to remain unstable and can also annihilate and bump into each other too efficiently. Even the team handled the problem by using augmented GFP, a type of protein that has been genetically regulated to deliver more shine than its natural substance. They prepared a laser cavity by placing a sleek layer of GFP, about 500 nanometres thick, between two mirrors. The molecules of GFP are naturally organized into a group of small cylinders, each a few nanometres in size comprising of 11 layers of atoms.

Conclusion – Although, it is not the very first polariton laser experiment on room temperature, still Gather states that it must be more compatible with various biological applications as compared to the semiconductor version. He forecasts use of such layers as tags for cancel cells that rapidly spread across the body. Also, cells with tiny genetic differences could be tracked with laser releasing varying wavelengths of light, enabling the researchers to identify how such cells transform as they move through the body.