Quantum Cascade Laser s-SNOM for intracellular imaging

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Physics


Very recently we gave found out how to use a Solid- State near field imaging technique, so-called s-SNOM to look inside cells for the first time. It beats the diffraction limits of ordinary microscopy by a factor of ~3000, and the spatial resolution it gives (~3nm) already rivals the very best of electron microscopy at a fraction of the time effort and cost.

We believe it has the potential to transform the biomedical sciences.

We have shown how it can image the organelles inside a cell optically for the first time first time ever. Also , because it works at mid-IR wavelengths where chemical bonds have characteristic vibrational absorption bands that give them spectral "fingerprints" , the technique can be used to provide nanoscal chemnical maps that, e.g. reveal where drugs bind inside the cell.

The initial aims of the projet will be to trail and develop the technology with Imperial cinicians, with a focus on themes, (1) the pathology pf Breast Cancer, (2) Drug resistance in multiple myeloma, and (3) the nanoscale causes of osteporosis.

However, the potential applications are limitless and we will likely establish more collaborations as the programme progresses.

Also Recent developments in the field of quantum imaging have demonstrated new methods of imaging objects by detecting photons that have not actually interacted with it. In collaboration with colleagues in the optics groups and the QUANTIC2 Quantum Imaging Hub, we plan to investigate extending the wavelength of this technique into the mid-IR.

There will also be collaboration with the team developing the diffraction-limited "Digistain" imager for Cancer diagnosis.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509486/1 01/10/2016 31/03/2022
2277215 Studentship EP/N509486/1 01/10/2019 31/03/2023 George Ewan GREAVES