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The group of Juniorprofessor Marcel Schubert studies the field of biointegrated photonics. Exploring the interface between physics, biology and material science, the group is developing new tools to study complex biological processes. Research topics include biological and intracellular lasers, development of micro- and nanolaser and biointegrated sensors.

Intracellular lasers

Integrating microscopic lasers into living cells provides an entirely new approach to use the unique properties of laser light to study biological process. The spectral characteristics of the microlaser emission has been demonstrated to be used for optical barcoding of individuel biological cells and for novel bio-sensing applications.

• M. Schubert et al., Monitoring contractility in cardiac tissue with cellular resolution using bio-integrated microlasers, Nature Photonics (2020), 14, 452.

• M. Schubert et al., Lasing in Live Mitotic and Non-Phagocytic Cells by Efficient Delivery of Microresonators, Scientific Reports (2017), 7, 40877.

• M. Schubert et al., Lasing within Live Cells Containing Intracellular Optical Microresonators for Barcode-Type Cell Tagging and Tracking, Nano Letters (2015), 15, 5647.


Microscopy image of microscopic lasers (yellow) inside heart muscle cells with labelled myofibrils (grey) and cell nucleus (magenta).

Biocompatible nanolasers

Minimizing lasers to sub-micrometer dimensions enables to explore sub-cellular functions of cells while minimizing effects on their biological function. We are developing nanoscopic Whispering Gallery mode and plasmonic lasers as coherent light sources for intracellular sensing and tracking applications. To concentrate light on the smallest possible dimensions requires the application of novel optical concepts, sophisticated nano-fabrication and the use of specialized materials.

• A. H. Fikouras et al., Non-obstructive intracellular nanolasers, Nature Communications (2018), 9, 4817.

A nanolasers (red) inisde a biological cell (blue).