The new laser is actually a Spaser, which is a plasmonic nanolaser that stores energy within so-called surface plasmon polaritons. It is only 22 nanometers in width, but can generate light at wavelengths much larger than that. As part of the research, the scientists developed a way of making dynamic vapor nanobubbles near their spaser that result in huge boosts in intensity for the device. It becomes at least a hundred times more intense in its illuminating properties than quantum dots, and its spectral width is 30 times narrower. This allows the new spaser to kill cancer cells, as its light, resulting heat, and the accompanying nanobubbles work together to make life miserable for living cells.
The researchers have already shown a proof of impression by aiming circulating tumor cells using the spaser. In the future, it is projected that such spasers will be delivered directly to the sites of tumors, as they can be bound to folic acid and other chemical compounds that tend to collect in large quantities near cancer cells. There, the spasers will be able to analyse the cells and destroy the cancerous cells one by one, leaving everything else perfectly intact.