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Review Article

Lanthanide-based microlasers: Synthesis, structures, and biomedical applications

Qian Zhang1Yawei Liu2,3( )Kai Liu1,2,3( )Hongjie Zhang1,2,3
Engineering Research Center of Advanced Rare Earth Materials (Ministry of Education), Department of Chemistry, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
State Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Resource Utilization, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130022, China
Xiangfu Laboratory, Jiaxing 314102, China
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Graphical Abstract

In this work, recent progress in the synthesis and the structure–performance investigations of lanthanide-based microlasers are presented. Biological applications of the lanthanide-based microlasers are presented and the challenges and perspectives of the lanthanide-based microlasers are discussed.


The large size of lasers limits their applications in confined spaces, such as in biosensing and in vivo brain tissue imaging. In this regard, micron-sized lasers have been developed. They exhibit great potential for biological detecting, remote sensing, and depth tracking due to their small sizes, sensitive properties of their spectral fingerprints, and flexible positional modulation in the microenvironment. Lanthanide-based luminescent materials that possess long excited-state lifetime, narrow emission bandwidth, and upconversion behaviors are promising as gain mediums for novel microlasers. In addition, lanthanide-based microlasers could be generated under natural ambient conditions with pumped or continuous light sources, which significantly promotes the practical applications of microlasers. Recent progress in the design, synthesis, and biomedical applications of lanthanide-based microlasers has been outlined in this review. Lanthanide ions doped and upconverted lanthanide-based microlasers are highlighted, which exhibit advantageous structures, miniaturized dimensions, and high lasing performance. The applications of lanthanide-based microlasers are further discussed, the upconverted microlasers show great advantages for biological applications owing to their tunable excitation and emission characteristics and excellent environmental stability. Moreover, perspectives and challenges in the field of lanthanide-based microlasers are presented.

Nano Research
Pages 97-111
Cite this article:
Zhang Q, Liu Y, Liu K, et al. Lanthanide-based microlasers: Synthesis, structures, and biomedical applications. Nano Research, 2024, 17(1): 97-111.






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Received: 29 March 2023
Revised: 18 May 2023
Accepted: 21 May 2023
Published: 24 July 2023
© Tsinghua University Press 2023