Nanostructure Materials & Devices Laboratory
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III.Hybrid Biochemical / Inorganic Structures  >> 3. Attached Cells: Nanoscale Simultaneous Morphologic and Optical Imaging


  III.3 Attached Cells: Nanoscale Simultaneous Morphologic and Optical Imaging


This work is supported by: DURINT-01 AFOSR Grant No. F49620-01-1-0474
And the NSF Engineering Research Center for Biomimetic Microelectronic Systems.

  Imaging of red blood cells

    To obtain, with nanoscale resolution, topographic and optical images of soft materials on solid surfaces, we are employing near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM) based upon a cantilevered fiber-optic tip that functions as an atomic force microscope (Nanonics 100). The optical and topographic images obtained simultaneously for red blood cells are shown below:

AFM topographical image of blood cells Corresponding NSOM image of red blood cells

  Imaging of cancer cells

     Applications of quantum dots as biological probes in conjunction with nano-scale detection can be extended towards other novel and medically significant uses such as the early detection of cancer which is currently another area of our focus. We are working in collaboration with Prof. Richard Cote, Dr. Ram Dattar and Dr. Deborah Hawes's laboratory in the department of Pathology at the USC Health Sciences Campus to work towards establishing new paradigms that would enable early detection of cancer through the use of Nanotechnology. Our approach is to obtain simultaneous topographical and optical information from cancerous versus normal cells using the near-field optical microscope to be able to distinguish any structural and/or optical differences at the nano-scale. The figure below shows simultaneously obtained topographic and fluorescence optical images of breast cancer cells SK-BR-3 and MDA-MB-231. The cells are labeled with CdSe/ZnS (600nm emission) quantum dot targeting Her2/neu receptors on the cell surface. Images are obtained using a tip of 100nm diameter aperture. The resolution of the NSOM images, as indicated by the smallest features on it, is ~150nm. Note that the fluorescence NSOM image of both SKBR3 and MDA cell is marked by bright areas of ~500nm diameter. This indicates Her2/neu receptors on the SKBR3 cell surface are not distributed evenly but instead localized in clusters. . The only difference is that the number of such clusters on MDA is much smaller than on SKBR3 cell, which is understandable given the total lower number of Her2/neu receptor on MDA (2x104/cell) than on SKBR3 (1x106/cell).


DURINT Project
    - Nanocrystal/Eptaxial 2D integration
    - Surface Modification (Chemical & Biochemical)
    - Nanoscale Simultaneous Morphological & Optical Imaging (Current Page)

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