Hyperspectral imaging for nanoparticle cell uptake

A new microscopic imaging technique, available at AMI, can measure the spectra of light scattered by plasmonic NPs and visualize them inside cells.

All that glitters is gold: the surface plasmon resonance (SPR) of gold is a fantastic property of this precious metal. The SPR can be picked up by a clever use of glass lenses, enabling the imaging of single NPs which present a kaleidoscope of colors. The aggregation of Au particles characteristically alters their SPR, evident in a change of color observed by the microscope. Therefore, acquisition of the scattering spectrum of Au NPs provides information on both the presence of Au and its aggregation state.

The BioNanomaterials group started a beta-testing project to overlay the above-mentioned physicochemical information from the Au NPs with three-dimensional biological information, such as the resolved cytoskeleton network or visualization of the cell nucleus. Preliminary data has shown that both the chemical and biological information can be easily obtained. Furthermore, the SPR can be obtained with a resolution of a few nanometers, sufficient to detect metal oxides such as SPIONs – besides noble metals (e.g. Au, Ag, Pt). This project is in collaboration with Cytoviva Inc.

Principal investigator

Involved people

External partners

CytoViva, Inc.



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