3 years ago

Chemically imaging bacteria with super-resolution SERS on ultra-thin silver substrates

Nathan C. Lindquist, Kelsey B. Spies, Paula A. G. Soneral, Anna C. Browning, Aeli P. Olson
Plasmonic hotspots generate a blinking Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) effect that can be processed using Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy (STORM) algorithms for super-resolved imaging. Furthermore, by imaging through a diffraction grating, STORM algorithms can be modified to extract a full SERS spectrum, thereby capturing spectral as well as spatial content simultaneously. Here we demonstrate SERS and STORM combined in this way for super-resolved chemical imaging using an ultra-thin silver substrate. Images of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria taken with this technique show excellent agreement with scanning electron microscope images, high spatial resolution at <50 nm, and spectral SERS content that can be correlated to different regions. This may be used to identify unique chemical signatures of various cells. Finally, because we image through as-deposited, ultra-thin silver films, this technique requires no nanofabrication beyond a single deposition and looks at the cell samples from below. This allows direct imaging of the cell/substrate interface of thick specimens or imaging samples in turbid or opaque liquids since the optical path doesn’t pass through the sample. These results show promise that super-resolution chemical imaging may be used to differentiate chemical signatures from cells and could be applied to other biological structures of interest.

Publisher URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-08915-w

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-08915-w

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