The use of chromophore dyes to enhance the bactericidal effect of laser energy was studied as a means to optimize laser treatment for the decontamination of wound. Using an in vitro study, various concentrations of indocyanine green (ICG), carbon black, and fluorescein were mixed with a suspension of bacteria and plated on tryptic soy agar. Plates were exposed to a laser beam of 10-15 watts for times ranging from 0 to 180 seconds, incubated overnight, and colony counts were performed. Bacteria not mixed with chromophore were used as controls. Six bacterial strains encompassing a range of bacterial types were used: Staphylococcus aureau, Streptococcus pyogenes, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bacillus cereus spore suspensions, and Clostridium perfringens. Laser treatment alone had no effect on any of the bacteria. Significant killing of gram-positive bacteria, including spores of Bacillus cereus, was observed only with the use of ICG and diode laser energy. No effect was observed using any of the chromophores on the gram-negative bacteria. The results of this study indicate that successful killing of gram-positive bacteria can be achieved using ICG combined with appropriate laser energy and wavelength. Efforts to enhance the susceptibility of gram-negative bacteria to photothermolysis by laser energy were unsuccessful.