Volume 5 Issue 7, July 2011

Volume 5 Issue 7

Cells expressing green fluorescent protein can lase when placed in a reflective microcavity and optically pumped with blue light. These living lasers exhibit well-defined longitudinal and transverse laser modes, as depicted in the image.

Image courtesy of Malte C. Gather and Seok Hyun Yun.

Letter by Malte C. Gather and Seok Hyun Yun.


  • Editorial |

    Experts in Europe have published a report that outlines the opportunities and challenges facing the emerging field of nanophotonics.

Books and Arts

Research Highlights

News and Views

  • News & Views |

    The demonstration of a phase-sensitive optical amplifier with a noise figure of just 1.1 dB — three times lower than that of a conventional amplifier — could help significantly extend the reach of optical communications systems.

    • Guifang Li
  • News & Views |

    Green fluorescent protein — an important biological imaging tool for many years — now forms the foundation of the first cellular laser.

    • Steve Meech
  • News & Views |

    A four-year collaboration between Japan and Europe aims to increase the efficiency of concentrator solar cells to beyond 45%.

    • Oliver Graydon
  • News & Views |

    Researchers in Japan have now extended the capability of light-in-flight holography to femtosecond pulse durations in the visible wavelength range.

    • Nils Abramson
  • News & Views |

    Lensless X-ray imaging is no longer limited to monochromatic sources. A new approach that is compatible with polychromatic beams can increase the efficiency of diffractive imaging experiments, thus significantly reducing exposure times.

    • Sujoy Roy
  • News & Views |

    The use of carbon nanotube electrodes and new device geometries is enhancing the performance of organic light-emitting transistors.

    • Clara Santato
    • , Fabio Cicoira
    •  & Richard Martel
  • News & Views |

    Semiconductor light-emitting diodes may soon replace mercury lamps as the ultraviolet source of choice in a wide range of applications. Researchers around the world are now racing to increase the efficiency and output power of such ultraviolet solid-state devices.

    • David Pile



  • Letter |

    Scientists demonstrate living biological lasers by pumping cells containing green fluorescent protein in a highly reflective microcavity. The researchers also investigate the thresholds and modes of their cellular lasers.

    • Malte C. Gather
    •  & Seok Hyun Yun
  • Letter |

    Scientists study the coupling, guiding and polarizing of electromagnetic waves in graphene and demonstrate a graphene-based fibre polarizer that exhibits a transverse-electric-pass polarization at an extinction ratio of up to 27 dB in the telecommunications band.

    • Qiaoliang Bao
    • , Han Zhang
    • , Bing Wang
    • , Zhenhua Ni
    • , Candy Haley Yi Xuan Lim
    • , Yu Wang
    • , Ding Yuan Tang
    •  & Kian Ping Loh
  • Letter |

    Poor coherence resulting from long exposure times is a problem for many coherent diffractive X-ray imaging schemes. Here, researchers show that coherent diffractive imaging using a broadband source can achieve a 60-fold reduction in exposure time.

    • Brian Abbey
    • , Lachlan W. Whitehead
    • , Harry M. Quiney
    • , David J. Vine
    • , Guido A. Cadenazzi
    • , Clare A. Henderson
    • , Keith A. Nugent
    • , Eugeniu Balaur
    • , Corey T. Putkunz
    • , Andrew G. Peele
    • , G. J. Williams
    •  & I. McNulty
  • Letter |

    Researchers demonstrate a microwave generator based on a high-Q optical resonator and a frequency comb functioning as an optical-to-microwave divider. They generate 10 GHz electrical signals with a fractional frequency instability of ≤8 × 10−16 at 1 s.

    • T. M. Fortier
    • , M. S. Kirchner
    • , F. Quinlan
    • , J. Taylor
    • , J. C. Bergquist
    • , T. Rosenband
    • , N. Lemke
    • , A. Ludlow
    • , Y. Jiang
    • , C. W. Oates
    •  & S. A. Diddams
  • Addendum


  • Article |

    Scientists experimentally demonstrate an optical-fibre-based non-degenerate phase-sensitive amplifier link that offers broadband amplification, signal modulation-format independence and lower noise than links based on conventional erbium-doped fibre amplifiers.

    • Z. Tong
    • , C. Lundström
    • , P. A. Andrekson
    • , C. J. McKinstrie
    • , M. Karlsson
    • , D. J. Blessing
    • , E. Tipsuwannakul
    • , B. J. Puttnam
    • , H. Toda
    •  & L. Grüner-Nielsen


  • Interview |

    Researchers have now shown that lasers — usually thought of as being inanimate optoelectronic instruments — can also be made from certain biological gain media. Nature Photonics spoke to Malte C. Gather and Seok Hyun Yun about their realization of a living single-cell laser.

    • David Pile