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

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


In this project the aim is to develop vibrational 'chemically selective' imaging techniques for bio-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. The signals can be further enhanced using the phenomena of electronic resonance to further enable highly sensitive detection. This is applicable to monitoring compounds such as tetrapyrroles, which have accessible resonances in the visible and near infrared wavelength range. Tetrapyrroles, which include molecules such as protoporphyrin IX, heme, cytochrome C, biliverdin, bilirubin etc., are a highly important class of molecules involved in many life processes. Malfunctions in the biochemical pathways involving them lead to diseases but their beneficial effect is used in cancer treatment as well. Thus in this project chemically selective micro-/nano-scopic CRS imaging techniques will be developed to monitor phenomena related to tetrapyrrole, and in particular protophyrin IX, pathways in mammalian and plant cells. This will provide a step change in current understanding of the relevant biochemical pathways and accelerate translation of treatment strategies


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509747/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
2022039 Studentship EP/N509747/1 28/09/2017 31/12/2021 James Read
EP/T517859/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2025
2022039 Studentship EP/T517859/1 28/09/2017 31/12/2021 James Read
Description (Pre)-Resonance Coherent anti-Stokes Raman (CARS) imaging has been shown for the first time, including cellular imaging. The limit of detect of solution and within cells has been shown to be lower than regular CARS.
Exploitation Route Other labs capable of coherent anti-Stokes Raman (CARS) imaging may decide to use (pre)resonance CARS in there experiments to use the advantages that this research has shown.
Sectors Chemicals,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description Open day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Was part of a section of the Chemistry open day tour that showed examples of research at Southampton. Had exhibits that showed some spectroscopy which had me talk about my research and caused questions and discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
Description Southampton Science and Engineering day (SOTSEF) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Had a stall at Southampton Science and Engineering day where members of the public came to our booth and interacted with are exhibits based on our research which prompted discussions and questions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019