Feel the beat: implanted microlasers scan heart from inside

Leading an interdisciplinary team of scientists, Dr Samantha Pitt of the School of Medicine and Dr Marcel Schubert and Professor Malte Gather of the School of Physics at the University of St Andrews, embedded tiny lasers into individual heart cells, and by analysing the light these lasers produce they monitored the contractions of the heart muscle.

The paper “Monitoring contractility in cardiac tissue with cellular resolution using biointegrated microlasers” by Marcel Schubert, Lewis Woolfson, Isla R M Barnard, Amy M Dorward, Becky Casement, Andrew Morton, Gavin B Robertson, Paul L Appleton, Gareth B Miles, Carl S Tucker, Samantha J Pitt and Malte C Gather is published in Nature Photonics (June 15th 2020) and is available online.

Although the research is still in its early days, the present study proves that microlasers can act as versatile contractility sensors that can resolve fast dynamic processes inside individual live cells and whole hearts.

The University press release can be found here https://news.st-andrews.ac.uk/archive/feel-the-beat-implanted-microlasers-scan-heart-from-inside/