Chemically imaging bacteria with super-resolution SERS on ultra-thin silver substrates
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.
Physics and Engineering
Olson, Aeli P.; Spies, Kelsey B.; Browning, Anna C.; Soneral, Paula A.G.; and Lindquist, Nathan C., "Chemically imaging bacteria with super-resolution SERS on ultra-thin silver substrates" (2017). Physics and Engineering Faculty Publications. 14.