Irradiation of nanoabsorbers with pico- and nanosecond laser pulses could result in thermal effects with a spatial confinement of less than 50 nm. Therefore absorbing nanoparticles could be used to create controlled cellular effects. We describe a combination of laser irradiation with nanoparticles, which changes the plasma membrane permeability. We demonstrate that the system enables molecules to penetrate impermeable cell membranes. Laser light at 532 nm is used to irradiate conjugates of colloidal gold, which are delivered by antibodies to the plasma membrane of the Hodgkin's disease cell line L428 and/or the human large-cell anaplastic lymphoma cell line Karpas 299. After irradiation, membrane permeability is evaluated by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry using propidium iodide (PI) and fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) dextran. The fraction of transiently permeabilized and then resealed cells is affected by the laser parameter, the gold concentration, and the membrane protein of the different cell lines to which the nanoparticles are bound. Furthermore, a dependence on particle size is found for these interactions in the different cell lines. The results suggest that after optimization, this method could be used for gene transfection and gene therapy.