Selective inactivation of micro-organisms with near-infrared femtosecond laser pulses

Kong-Thon Tsen, Shaw Wei D Tsen, Otto F. Sankey, Juliann G. Kiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


We demonstrate an unconventional and revolutionary method for selective inactivation of micro-organisms by using near-infrared femtosecond laser pulses. We show that if the wavelength and pulse width of the excitation femtosecond laser are appropriately selected, there exists a window in power density that enables us to achieve selective inactivation of target viruses and bacteria without causing cytotoxicity in mammalian cells. This strategy targets the mechanical (vibrational) properties of micro-organisms, and thus its antimicrobial efficacy is likely unaffected by genetic mutation in the micro-organisms. Such a method may be effective against a wide variety of drug resistant micro-organisms and has broad implications in disinfection as well as in the development of novel treatments for viral and bacterial pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number472201
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 28 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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