Published on 08 Nov 2021

Bio-intelligent Lasers for Healthcare: Tiny Lasers that can Feel and Think

IAS@NTU Discovery Science Seminar by Nanyang Assistant Professor Yu-Cheng Chen

The webinar was jointly organised by IAS and the Graduate Students' Clubs of EEE, SBS and SCBE.

Lasers are ubiquitous in our daily lives from industry, communication to medicine. The scale of lasers has shrunk to micron and nanoscales. Advances in micro-nanoscale lasers represent a disruptive breakthrough in biological sensing with the potential to unlock new avenues of discovery in health research and life sciences.

In this webinar, Nanyang Assistant Professor Yu-Cheng Chen introduced the fundamental principles and recent development in biological lasers. A bio-laser utilizes biological materials as part of its gain medium and/or part of its cavity. It can also be a micro- or nanosized laser embedded/integrated within biological materials. They employ lasing emission rather than regular fluorescence as the sensing signal and therefore has a number of unique advantages that can be explored for broad applications in biosensing, labelling, tracking, contrast agent development, and bioimaging. Such tiny lasers could be used to detect or monitor critical biochemical or physical signals in living cells or human body with distinctive sensitivity and intensity.

The talk highlighted how this interdisciplinary technology bridges laser physics and biology to tackle biomedical sensing and imaging problems, its application in detecting cancer and neurological diseases and how they can be transformed with intelligent functions for information encoding. Towards of the end of the webinar, Prof Chen presented strategies to pioneer novel on-chip and wearable laser devices for future medical diagnosis and bio-intelligent technology. The webinar ended with an interactive Q&A session where Prof Chen addressed different questions related to working principle, challenges and potential future applications of bio-lasers in wearable healthcare technology.

Vivek Mohan | EEE Graduate Students’ Club