The gold nanoparticle (AuNP) mediated ultrashort laser cell membrane perforation has been proven as an efficient delivery method to bring membrane impermeable molecules into the cytoplasm. Nevertheless, the underlying mechanisms have not been fully determined yet. Different effects may occur when irradiating a AuNP with ultrashort laser pulses and finally enable the molecule to transfer. Depending on the parameters (pulse length, laser fluence and wavelength, particle size and shape, etc.) light absorption or an enhanced near field scattering can lead to perforation of the cell membrane when the particle is in close vicinity. Here we present our experimental results to clarify the perforation initiating mechanisms. The generation of cavitation and gas bubbles due to the laser induced effects were observed via time resolved imaging. Additionally, pump-probe experiments for bubble detection was performed. Furthermore, in our patch clamp studies a depolarization of the membrane potential and the current through the membrane of AuNP loaded cell during laser treatment was detected. This indicates an exchange of extra- and intra cellular ions trough the perforated cell membrane for some milliseconds. Additionally investigations by ESEM imaging were applied to study the interaction of cells and AuNP after co incubation. The images show an attachment of AuNP at the cell membrane after several hours of incubation. Moreover, images of irradiated and AuNP loaded cells were taken to visualize the laser induced effects.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.