Cell imaging at nanoscale

The Centre offers access to a number of advanced imaging platforms which are essential to applications in healthcare in addition to established light microscopy and scanning probe microscopy systems.

The Centre’s Scanning Tunnelling Microscopy (STM) suite is used to assess and guide the development of sensors for measuring disease markers. The Centre also offers an atomic force microscope system dedicated to the study of surface electrical properties. This system, for example, is used in mapping conductivity across a biosensor surface coated with an electrically active protein.

Other imaging platforms within the Centre bring together Scanning Near field Optical Microscopy (SNOM) and Tip Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (TERS) to probe biological interfaces for their chemical activity. This builds on the Centre’s wealth of experience in the application of quantum dots for imaging.

The advanced imaging capabilities are completed by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) which features an AFM instrument coupled with a confocal microscope to optimise the analysis of biological systems in terms of their morphology and interactions. The confocal instrument allows identification of cell surface regions prior to AFM analysis. This hybrid instrument is routinely used to examine the structure of cells and in more advanced application to measure their mechanical properties and adhesive interactions often a key marker of disease state.