Plasmonic Enhanced Femtosecond Laser Cell Nanosurgery

Michel Meunier, Professor, Department of Engineering Physics, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal

Friday, May 4, 2012, 3:30pm

Spanos Auditorium

This seminar is part of the Jones Seminars on Science, Technology, and Society series.

In this talk, I will introduce a new technique to perform nanosurgery in living cells. Irradiating metallic nanostructures by a femtosecond laser beam produces highly localised processes on the nanoscale in the surrounding medium. This particular process is mainly attributed to the surface plasmon resonance of the nanostructures. When these nanomaterials are imbedded in a biological media, their irradiation by a femtosecond laser could result in a highly localized plasma, heat production and mechanical effects yielding to the nanosurgery of cells. As an example, the new technique was employed to perform gene transfection in living cell with an optoporation efficiency as high as 70%. Comparing with conventional gene transfection methods, the laser approach efficacy is three times higher than lipofection based techniques [1]. Complete physical model was developed to determine the basic mechanism underlying this new nanosurgery process. Plasmonic enhanced femtosecond laser technique shows promises as alternative nanosurgery technology that could be adapted to therapeutic tools in the clinic.

[1] J. Baumgart, L. Humbert , É. Boulais, R. Lachaine , J-J. Lebrun , and M. Meunier. "Off-resonance plasmonic enhanced femtosecond laser optoporation and transfection of cancer cells," Biomaterials, 33, 2345-2350 (2012).

About the Speaker

Dr. Michel Meunier obtained his engineering and masters degrees from École Polytechnique de Montréal in 1978 and 1980 respectively and his Ph.D. in Materials Science from MIT in 1984. He has been Professor of Engineering Physics at École Polytechnique de Montréal since 1986 and also holds a cross-appointment with the biomedical engineering program. In the last 30 years, he has been involved in laser processing of various materials and nanomaterials. Professor Meunier was awarded in 2001 a Canadian Research Chair Tier I to perform research and innovation in laser micro/nano-engineering of materials. He is the Director of the Laser Processing and Plasmonics Laboratory at Polytechnique in Montreal, whose mission is to develop and model new laser processes for nanotechnology and biomedical applications. His main research activities involve the development of new laser nanosurgery technologies and new ultrasensitive plasmonic biodetectors. He was also awarded an NSERC (National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Synergy Prize in 2006 for his fruitful university-industry collaboration with LTRIM Technologies, a company he co-founded. He is Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, Fellow of SPIE (International Society for Optics and Photonics), and Fellow of OSA (Optical Society of America). He has a research group of ~20 people and has published over 300 papers.