Plasmon resonance and the imaging of metal-impregnated neurons with the laser scanning confocal microscope

Karen J. Thompson, Cynthia M. Harley, Grant M. Barthel, Mark A. Sanders, Karen A. Mesce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The staining of neurons with silver began in the 1800s, but until now the great resolving power of the laser scanning confocal microscope has not been utilized to capture the infocus and three-dimensional cytoarchitecture of metal-impregnated cells. Here, we demonstrate how spectral confocal microscopy, typically reserved for fluorescent imaging, can be used to visualize metal-labeled tissues. This imaging does not involve the reflectance of metal particles, but rather the excitation of silver (or gold) nanoparticles and their putative surface plasmon resonance. To induce such resonance, silver or gold particles were excited with visible-wavelength laser lines (561 or 640 nm), and the maximal emission signal was collected at a shorter wavelength (i.e., higher energy state). Because the surface plasmon resonances of noble metal nanoparticles offer a superior optical signal and do not photobleach, our novel protocol holds enormous promise of a rebirth and further development of silver- and gold-based cell labeling protocols.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere09388
JournaleLife
Volume4
Issue numberDECEMBER2015
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2015

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