Nonlinear self-action of light through biological suspensions

Bezryadina, Anna, Hansson, Tobias, Gautam, Rekha, Wetzel, Benjamin, Siggins, Graham, Kalmbach, Andrew, Lamstein, Josh, Gallardo, Daniel, Carpenter, Edward J, Ichimura, Andrew, Morandotti, Roberto and Chen, Zhigang (2017) Nonlinear self-action of light through biological suspensions. Physical Review Letters, 119 (5). ISSN 0031-9007

[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (3MB)


It is commonly thought that biological media cannot exhibit an appreciable nonlinear optical response. We demonstrate, for the first time to our knowledge, a tunable optical nonlinearity in suspensions of cyanobacteria that leads to robust propagation and strong self-action of a light beam. By deliberately altering the host environment of the marine bacteria, we show experimentally that nonlinear interaction can result in either deep penetration or enhanced scattering of light through the bacterial suspension, while the viability of the cells remains intact. A theoretical model is developed to show that a nonlocal nonlinearity mediated by optical forces (including both gradient and forward-scattering forces) acting on the bacteria explains our experimental observations

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science
Q Science > QC Physics
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Benjamin Wetzel
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2017 12:46
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2017 15:58

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update