Label-free Vibrational Imaging Techniques for Applications in Biological and Chemical Analysis

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: School of Chemistry


This project is in the exciting interdisciplinary area of label-free imaging and its applications in biological and chemical analysis. Current techniques used in biology either do not give molecule (chemical) specific information or rely on tagging fluorophores/dyes to enable visualisation and in addition, are invasive and/or destructive. In electrochemistry/catalysis while bulk (ensemble averaged) phenomenon is measured, local changes on surfaces are not visualised due to lack of complementary and chemical specific imaging techniques. In this project the aim is to develop vibrational 'chemically selective' imaging techniques for bio-(electro)-chemical applications. Techniques based on coherent Raman scattering (CRS), which are vibrational finger-printing techniques, and much more powerful than conventional spontaneous Raman spectroscopy will be used. In CRS the signals are much stronger to allow in situ real-time imaging yet can be as informative and chemically selective as Raman spectroscopy. Thus, the ability to do chemically selective imaging at the typical sub-micron (or lower) spatial resolution of CRS techniques can yield an advanced understanding of phenomena at bio-electrochemical interfaces such as tethered membranes, new electrode materials and catalytic surfaces, respectively. Thus in this project applications of our recently developed chemically selective micro-/nano-scopic CRS imaging techniques will be explored to demonstrate their utility in bringing about a step change in our understanding of chemical phenomena occurring at liquid-solid interfaces.

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509747/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1824850 Studentship EP/N509747/1 01/11/2016 31/12/2020 Peter Johnson
Description We have pushed the limit of what can be seen with a microscope to smaller than ever before.
Exploitation Route The techniques developed so far may be used by others to facilitate biomedical research.
Sectors Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description University of Southampton Science and Engineering Festival. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Engagement activities were performed with the general public at SOTSEF to articulate the research into label free imaging. The response was very positive.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019