Chemists, biologists, and engineers from the University of Missouri have conducted research that could change the way scientists analyze cells and molecules at sub-microscopic (nanoscale) levels.
This diagram shows the difference between regular and plasmonic gratings in terms of fluorescent intensity. CREDIT: Photo courtesy of Shubhra Gangopadhyay/Nanoscale.
Recently, studies describing a new, cost-effective imaging platform capable of performing single molecule imaging were published by Shubra Gangopadhyay, an electrical and computer engineer, along with her MU team. This patented technique highlights the nanoscale research carried out by Gangopadhyay for a period of more than 30 years. This nanoscale research has proven to be extremely useful in battling diseases and biological research.
Usually, scientists have to use very expensive microscopes to image at the sub-microscopic level. The techniques we’ve established help to produce enhanced imaging results with ordinary microscopes. The relatively low production cost for the platform also means it could be used to detect a wide variety of diseases, particularly in developing countries.
Shubra Gangopadhyay, College of Engineering, University of Missouri
An interaction that exists between light and the metal grating’s surface was recently used by the team’s custom platform in order to produce surface plasmon resonance (SPR), which is a rapidly growing imaging method that helps to exicute super-resolution imaging down to 65 nanometers, a resolution that is generally reserved for electron microscopes.
Blu-Ray and HD-DVD discs are used as starting templates to transfer a repeating grating pattern onto microscope slides on which the specimen is placed. The manufacturing process continues to be reasonably cost-effective as the patterns create a technology that has a wide range of applications.
In previous studies, we’ve used plasmonic gratings to detect cortisol and even tuberculosis. Additionally, the relatively low production cost for the platform also means it could be used to further detect a wide variety of diseases, particularly in developing countries. Eventually, we might even be able to use smartphones to detect disease in the field.
Gangopadhyay , College of Engineering, University of Missouri
The collaborations that could take place at the Mizzou have also been highlighted by Gangopadhyay’s research. The team is working towards developing the next generation of graduate and undergraduate students through its association with the MU Departments of Bioengineering and Biochemistry. Licenses and patents produced by MU technologies enable developing and improving relationships with industries, influencing the lives of international, national and state citizens, and encouraging economic development.
“Plasmonic gratings with nano-protrusions made by glancing angle deposition (GLAD) for single-molecule super-resolution imaging” recently was published in Nanoscale, a journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry. The studies received partial financial aid from the National Science Foundation. The authors are solely responsible for the content, which does not necessarily signify the official views of the funding agency.