Optical transfection is a powerful method for targeted delivery of therapeutic agents to biological cells. A tightly focused pulsed laser beam may transiently change the permeability of a cell membrane to facilitate the delivery of foreign genetic material into cells. We report the first realization of an endoscope-like integrated system for optical transfection. An imaging fiber (coherent optical fiber bundle) with ∼6000 cores (pixels) embedded in a fiber cladding of ∼300 μm in diameter, produces an image circle (area) of ∼270 μm diam. This imaging fiber, with an ordered axicon lens array chemically etched at its exit face, is used for the delivery of a femtosecond laser to the cell membrane for optical transfection along with subcellular resolution imaging. A microcapillary-based microfluidic system for localized drug delivery was also combined in this miniature, flexible system. Using this novel system, a plasmid transfection efficiency up to ∼72% was obtained for CHO-K1 cells. This endoscope-like system opens a range of exciting applications, in particular, in the targeted in vivo optical microsurgery area.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Biomedical Engineering