ADVANCES OF MID-INFRARED PHOTOTHERMAL MICROSCOPY FOR IMPROVED CHEMICAL IMAGING

2020-04-22T15:37:48Z (GMT) by Chen Li
Vibrational spectroscopic imaging has become an emerging platform for chemical visualization of biomolecules and materials in complex systems. For over a century, both Raman and infrared spectroscopy have demonstrated the capability to recognize molecules of interest by harnessing the characteristic features from molecular fingerprints. With the recent development of hyperspectral vibrational spectroscopy imaging, which records the chemical information without sacrificing the spatial-temporal resolution, numerous discoveries has been achieved in the field of molecular and cellular biology. Despite the ability to provide complimentary chemical information to Raman-based approaches, infrared spectroscopy has not been extensively applied in routine studies due to several fundamental limitations: 1). the poor spatial resolution; 2). inevitable strong water absorption; 3). lack of depth resolution.
Mid-infrared photothermal (MIP) microscopy overcame all the above mentioned problems and for the first time, enabled depth-resolved in vivo infrared imaging of live cells, microorganisms with submicrometer spatial resolution. The development of epi-detected MIP microscopy further extends its application in pharmaceutical and materials sciences. With the deployment of difference frequency generation and other nonlinear optical techniques, the spectral coverage of the MIP microscopy was significantly enhanced to enable chemical differentiation in complex systems across the broad mid-infrared region. In addition to the efforts to directly improve the performance of MIP microscopy, a novel quantitative phase imaging approach based on polarization wavefront shaping via custom-designed micro-retarder arrays was developed to take advantage of the highly sensitive phase measurement in combination with the photothermal effect. Besides, the extended depth-of-field and multifocus imaging enabled by polarization wavefront shaping could both improve the performance of MIP microscopy for volumetric imaging.