Imaging Nanoparticles Using Hyperspectral Analysis

Image Credit:  Inozemtsev Konstantin /

Hyperspectral imaging accumulates and processes information from across the electromagnetic spectrum. Although only three bands are visible by the human eye (red, green and blue), the spectrum is divided into many more bands using hyperspectral imaging.

Cyto Viva’s Hyperspectral Imaging Technology

The hyperspectral imaging technology from Cyto Viva was designed specifically to enable quantitative spectral analysis of nanoscale materials imaged with the patented CytoViva darkfield-based microscope technology. It is also possible to map the location and presence of nanomaterials in a wide range of environments.

Hyperspectral imaging can be used to define surface chemistry and functional groups added to nanomaterials. It is possible to spectrally characterise bacteria and pathogens before mapping them in tissue. Hyperspectral imaging can also be used in conjunction with standard microscope imaging techniques such as fluorescence, reflected light and transmitted light bright-field.

Researchers are currently using CytoViva’s Hyperspectral Imaging Technology for:

  • Optical observation of nanoparticles
  • Mapping AuNPs in live epithelial cells
  • Identifying Functional groups on nanoparticles used as drug delivery agents
  • Tracking gold nanoparticles in the circulatory system
  • Nanoparticle tracking in whole animal organisms
  • Airborne carbon nanotube detection
  • Characterizing functional groups on carbon nanotubes
  • Differentiating aggregating and non-aggregating AgNPs
  • Differentiating AgNPs and AuNPs in single cell culture
  • Mapping carbon nanotubes in tissue
  • Characterizing and mapping bacteria in plant tissue
  • Identifying different strains of bacillus

Tracking Gold Nanoparticles in the Circulatory System

A broad range of nanoparticle constructs are presently in development to be used as targeted drug delivery vectors. Some of these systems are currently used in clinical trials and could be used to improve the efficacy of a large number of drugs, including cancer chemotherapies.

Gold nanoparticles are currently the most widely used nanoparticles in drug delivery applications. They have large surface areas which make them beneficial for functionalization with drug chemistry and conjugation proteins. As functionalized nanoparticles are delivered through the circulatory system, it is important to track these particles as they journey in the bloodstream.

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The patented, upgraded darkfield microscope capability of CytoViva causes a high signal to noise optical image enabling direct observation of unlabelled gold nanoparticles when present in blood. Gold nanoparticles appear green because of the impact of their plasmon resonance when illuminated with full spectrum visible light.

These particles produce a distinct reflectance spectral response, enabling the mapping and spectral characterization of particles in the blood sample. The spectral response of a gold nanoparticle differs significantly from the cell membrane spectra in the blood. Using CytoViva technology, it is possible for scientists to easily and quickly track nanoparticles in the circulatory system in order to understand their effectiveness as drug delivery vectors.

Differentiating AgNPs and AuNPs in a Single Cell Culture

Nanomaterials are being extensively studied as bio-markers and drug delivery vehicles. In certain studies, it may be necessary to distinguish between two different materials in a single sample.

The CytoViva hyperspectral microscope system can identify and map gold and silver nanoparticles within a single cell culture. The nanoparticles are imaged independently and for each particle type, spectral libraries are created.

Using hyperspectral image analysis software, the location and presence of the different particle types are mapped based on their respective spectral libraries.

Nanoparticle Tracking in Animal Organisms

The CytoViva hyperspectral microscope system has been proved to be highly effective for observing, characterising and mapping a broad range of nanoparticles exposed to a varied group of whole animal organisms.

Noble metal-based materials and metal oxides can be studied and mapped in animal organisms. The patented darkfield microscope capability of CytoViva creates a high signal to noise image enabling direct observation of nanoparticles internalised by the animal organism.

Image Credit: Kazakov Maksim /

CytoViva technology enables scientists to rapidly and easily monitor nanoparticles in whole animal models as the potential impact to humans and the environment is studied.

Nanomaterials are used extensively in a number of areas such as construction, electronics, consumer goods, automotive and textiles. The degradation of the products over their lifetime causes the release of nanoparticles into the environment and into humans.

Scientists are currently studying how these nanomaterials may impact the environment drastically. Animal organisms such as Daphnia, Zebrafish and Xenopus are used to model the toxicity and other impacts of nanoscale materials on humans and the environment.

References and Further Reading

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