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Showing posts from June, 2011

Freely Speaking: Human Cells Become Living Laser

This is just a quick note on what's caught my eye in the last day or so: Two researchers from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston successfully created what they call a "living laser".

How did they use a living cell as a laser?

I realized that I didn't exactly how a laser worked so I looked it up on Wiki. According to Wikipedia, "Laser" stands for "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission or Radiation". To build a laser, you basically need a light source, some device that absorbs the original light source and then emits an amplified signal also called "gain medium". The key to lasers is that the light is uniform and does not scatter all over the place - it's one bundle of light. This is performed be some complicated sets of optical mirrors. Normally, crystals (like ruby) are used for the gain medium, but in this case, a kidney cell expressing GFP was used. So technically, a cell does not replace …