Exploring the ultrashort pulse laser parameter space for membrane permeabilisation in mammalian cells

Andrew P. Rudhall, MacIej Antkowiak, Xanthi Tsampoula, Michael Mazilu, Nikolaus K. Metzger, Frank Gunn-Moore, Kishan Dholakia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The use of ultrashort femtosecond pulsed lasers to effect membrane permeabilisation and initiate both optoinjection and transfection of cells has recently seen immense interest. We investigate femtosecond laser-induced membrane permeabilisation in mammalian cells as a function of pulse duration, pulse energy and number of pulses, by quantifying the efficiency of optoinjection for these parameters. Depending on pulse duration and pulse energy we identify two distinct membrane permeabilisation regimes. In the first regime a nonlinear dependence of order 3.4-9.6 is exhibited below a threshold peak power of at least 6 kW. Above this threshold peak power, the nonlinear dependence is saturated resulting in linear behaviour. This indicates that the membrane permeabilisation mechanism requires efficient multiphoton absorption to produce free electrons but once this process saturates, linear absorption dominates. Our experimental findings support a previously proposed theoretical model and provide a step towards the optimisation of laser-mediated gene delivery into mammalian cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number858
JournalScientific reports
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council for Funding. MA thanks the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Association for support. KD is a Royal Society-Wolfson Merit Award Holder.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring the ultrashort pulse laser parameter space for membrane permeabilisation in mammalian cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this