One of the most powerful techniques available to analytical scientists is Raman spectroscopy. Unfortunately, it is not easy to distinguish the low-intensity signals it produces when studying fluorescent species in cells because they are swamped by the much brighter glow from various cell components. Now, Dutch researchers have overcome this incompatibility to hybridize Raman with fluorescence microscopy by exploiting the optical properties of semiconductor fluorescent quantum dots (QDs). They have demonstrated hybrid Raman fluorescence spectral imaging in studies of single cells.
Biophysical engineers Henk-Jan van Manen and Cees Otto of the University of Twente, The Netherlands, have used fluorescent nanoparticles to broaden the scope of single-cell microscopy by combining it with intracellular chemical analysis based on Raman. The researchers explain that quantum dots allows weak Raman signals from DNA to shine through the ubiquitous glow from proteins and lipids.
You can read the full story in my SpectroscopyNOW column this week.