Nanosurgery with femtosecond lasers

We have developed a technique to disrupt submicrometer-sized organelles within living cells or tissue without affecting the surrounding material or compromising viability of the cell or organism. When a femtosecond laser pulse is tightly focused into a nearly-transparent biological material, energy is deposited by nonlinear absorption only in the focus where laser intensity is high, resulting in disruption of the structure in the focal volume. Because the absorption is confined to the small focal volume, the surrounding material is unaffected, allowing micrometer precision in the disruption of biological tissue.