Nano Research

Article Title

Background-free three-dimensional selective imaging of anisotropic plasmonic nanoparticles


anisotropic nanoparticle, localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) scattering imaging, polarization microscopy, orientation-dependent localization microscopy, three-dimensional (3D) imaging


ABSTRACT There is an increasing demand for advanced optical imaging techniques that can detect and resolve nanosize objects at a spatial resolution below the optical diffraction limit, especially in three-dimensional (3D) cellular environments. In this study, using a polarization-activated localization scheme based on the orientation-dependent properties of anisotropic plasmonic metal nanoparticles (MNPs), “photoswitchable” imaging of single gold nanorods (AuNRs) was accomplished not only in two dimensions but also in three dimensions. Moreover, the Rayleigh scattering background arising from the congested subcellular structures was efficiently suppressed. Thus, we obtained the 3D distributions of both the position and the orientation of the AuNRs inside the cells and investigated their internalization kinetics. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of the confocal-like 3D imaging of non-fluorescence nanoparticles with a high resolution and almost zero background. This technique is easy to implement and should greatly facilitate MNP studies and applications in biomedicine and biology.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press