Protein-based microsphere biolasers fabricated by dehydration
Biolasers made of biological materials have attracted a great of research attention due to their biocompatibility and biodegradability, which have the potential for biosensors and biointegration. However, the current fabrication method of biolasers suffers several limitations such as complicated processes, time-consuming and environmental unfriendly. In this work, a novel approach with green processes for fabricating solid-state microspheres biolasers is demonstrated. By using dehydration via a modified MicroglassificationTM technology, dye-doped bovine serum albumin (BSA) droplets can quickly (less than 10 minutes) and easily turn into solid microspheres with the diameter ranging from 10-150 μm. The size of the microspheres can be effectively controlled by changing either the concentration of BSA solution or the diameter of the initial droplets. Fabricated microspheres can act as efficient microlasers under optical pulse excitation. Lasing threshold of 7.8 μJ mm-2 and quality (Q) factor of about 1700 to 3100 are obtained. The size-dependence of lasing characteristics have been investigated and the results show a good agreement with whispering gallery mode (WGM) theory. Our finding contributes an effective technique for the fabrication of high Q factor microlasers that may be potential for applications in biological and chemical sensors.