Femtosecond laser-assisted optoporation for drug and gene delivery into single mammalian cells

Pranav Soman, Wande Zhang, Aiko Umeda, Zhiwen Jonathan Zhang, Shaochen Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


In this work, focused near-infrared (NIR) femtosecond laser pulses were used to transiently perforate the cellular membrane of targeted human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells and the uptake of extrinsic molecules into the targeted cells was observed. Various cellular responses to the laser treatments were closely analyzed to optimize several experimental parameters such as laser power, exposure time and location of laser irradiation using a membrane impermeable fluorescent dye. The optimized parameters were used to investigate the entry of a plasmid DNA encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP) into the target cells. Since laser beam with higher-than-threshold energy level will disintegrate cells, we used Matlab simulations to characterize the laser irradiance and free electron distribution caused by the femtosecond-optoporation process. The simulation results showed that the free electron distribution is much narrower than the laser irradiance, which implies that the transient perforation can even be smaller than the size of the laser focal volume. Femtosecond laser-assisted optoporation when combined with lab-on-a-chip devices can be useful in single cell-based high-throughput screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-341
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomedical Nanotechnology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Femtosecond laser
  • GFP
  • HEK
  • Matlab simulations
  • Optoporation
  • Single-Cell manipulation
  • Transfection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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