A revolutionary photonic technology based on self-assembled soft matter that is likely to evolve into currently unforeseen, futuristic technologies. The liquid nature and responsiveness of soft matter delivers the spontaneous self-assembly of tuneable liquid micro-lasers, liquid micro-fibres, liquid light switches, and tuneable optical micro-resonators with extremely smooth interfaces, low optical losses, elastic deformability and self-healing, all of which are difficult to obtain with hard matter. These photonic micro-devices operate exclusively on light and can be easily integrated into 3D photonic chips by micro-injection into a polymer scaffold or elastic binding via topological defect loops and points.
Dr. Matjaž Humar, head of the Bio-integrated photonics lab and associate of the Condensed Matter Physics Department at the Jožef Stefan Institute was awarded the prestigious ERC Starting Grant by the European Research Council in the amount of 1.5 million Euro. The aim of the Cell Lasers Project is to study the interactions between lasers inserted into individual cells and the biological processes within those cells. Dr. Humar recently presented the first example of a laser within a living cell. Previous research has shown that lasers can operate within cells, but it has not yet been researched how the operation of lasers interacts with biophysical and biochemical processes of the cell. In the long term, the Cell Lasers Project aims to transform lasers within cells from a scientific curiosity into a robust method that can be used in the fields of research and medicine.
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