Selective Photonic Disinfection of Cell Culture Using a Visible Ultrashort Pulsed Laser

Shaw Wei D. Tsen, Karen Kibler, Bert Jacobs, Justin C. Fay, Nataly P. Podolnikova, Tatiana P. Ugarova, Samuel Achilefu, Kong Thon Tsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Microbial contamination of cell culture is a major problem encountered both in academic labs and in the biotechnology/pharmaceutical industries. A broad spectrum of microbes, including mycoplasma, bacteria, fungi, and viruses are the causative agents of cell-culture contamination. Unfortunately, the existing disinfection techniques lack selectivity and/or lead to the development of drug-resistance, and more importantly there is no universal method to address all the microbes. Here, we report a novel, chemical-free visible ultrashort pulsed laser method for cell-culture disinfection. The ultrashort pulsed laser technology inactivates pathogens with mechanical means, a paradigm shift from the traditional pharmaceutical and chemical approaches. We demonstrate that ultrashort pulsed laser treatment can efficiently inactivate mycoplasma, bacteria, yeast, and viruses with good preservation of mammalian cell viability. Our results indicate that this ultrashort pulsed laser technology has the potential to serve as a universal method for the disinfection of cell culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7322185
Pages (from-to)371-378
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Photonic disinfection
  • cell cultures
  • pathogens
  • ultrashort pulsed laser

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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