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Microcavities, nanolasers and OLEDs to explore the biomedical world

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Optical resonators provide one of the most accurate rulers known to mankind. My team explores the translation of this capability to biomedical applications, i.e. studies of cells and animal models. In one example, we use ultra-soft elastic Fabry-Perot micro-resonators as substrates for cells and interferometrically detect the forces cells apply to these – with piconewton precision and at video-rate speed. This has enabled direct observation of biophysical processes relevant to cancer invasion, immune cell migration, kidney failure, cardiac contraction and others. In another example, we implant nanolasers into live cells and propose dense spectral multiplexing of multiple lasers to track individual cells within large cell populations and over extended periods of time. We recently extended this to in vivo sensing, e.g. to measure contractility in the beating heart. Finally, using micro-cavity OLE Ds, we explore the possibilities of a bi-directional optical interface to cells, e.g. controlling and recording the activity of neurons in the brain with a minimally-invasive implant.

This talk is part of the Assembly and Function of Complex Systems series.

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