skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: SISGR: Room Temperature Single-Molecule Detection and Imaging by Stimulated Emission Microscopy

Abstract

Single-molecule spectroscopy has made considerable impact on many disciplines including chemistry, physics, and biology. To date, most single-molecule spectroscopy work is accomplished by detecting fluorescence. On the other hand, many naturally occurring chromophores, such as retinal, hemoglobin and cytochromes, do not have detectable fluorescence. There is an emerging need for single-molecule spectroscopy techniques that do not require fluorescence. In the last proposal period, we have successfully demonstrated stimulated emission microscopy, single molecule absorption, and stimulated Raman microscopy based on a high-frequency modulation transfer technique. These first-of-a- kind new spectroscopy/microscopy methods tremendously improved our ability to observe molecules that fluorescence weakly, even to the limit of single molecule detection for absorption measurement. All of these methods employ two laser beams: one (pump beam) excites a single molecule to a real or virtual excited state, and the other (probe beam) monitors the absorption/emission property of the single. We extract the intensity change of the probe beam with high sensitivity by implementing a high-frequency phase-sensitive detection scheme, which offers orders of magnitude improvement in detection sensitivity over direct absorption/emission measurement. However, single molecule detection based on fluorescence or absorption is fundamentally limited due to their broad spectral response. It is important to exploremore » other avenues in single molecule detection and imaging which provides higher molecular specificity for studying a wide variety of heterogeneous chemical and biological systems. This proposal aimed to achieve single-molecule detection sensitivity with near resonance stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscopy. SRS microscopy was developed in our lab as a powerful technique for imaging heterogeneous samples based on their intrinsic vibrational contrasts, which provides much higher molecular specificity than absorption and fluorescence. Current sensitivity limit of SRS microscopy has not yet reached single molecule detection. We proposed to capitalize on our state-of-the-art SRS microscopy and develop near-resonance enhanced SRS for single molecule detection of carotenoids and heme proteins. The specific aims we pursued are: (1) building the next SRS generation microscope that utilizes near resonance enhancement to allow detection and imaging of single molecules with undetectable fluorescence, such as -carotene. (2) using near-resonance SRS as a contrast mechanism to study dye-sensitize semiconductor interface, elucidating the heterogeneous electron ejection kinetics with high spatial and temporal resolution. (3) studying the binding and unbinding of oxygen in single hemoglobin molecules in order to gain molecular level understanding of the long-standing issue of cooperativity. The new methods developed in the fund period of this grant have advanced the detection sensitivity in many aspects. Near-resonance SRS improved the signal by using shorter wavelengths for SRS microscopy. Frequency modulation and multi-color SRS target the reduction of background to improve the chemical specificity of SRS while maintaining the high imaging speed. Time-domain coherent Raman scattering microscopy targets to reduce the noise floor of coherent Raman microscopy. These methods have already demonstrated first-of-a-kind new applications in biology and medical research. However, we are still one order of magnitude away from single molecule limit. It is important to continue to improve the laser specification and develop new imaging methods to finally achieve label-free single molecule microscopy.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA (United States). Dept. of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
OSTI Identifier:
1346869
Report Number(s):
DOE-Harvard-SC0001548-01
DOE Contract Number:
SC0001548
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
47 OTHER INSTRUMENTATION; Raman; SRS; label-free; resonance; spectral-focusing; multi-color; frequency modulation; acetylcholine laser

Citation Formats

Xie, Xiaoliang Sunney. SISGR: Room Temperature Single-Molecule Detection and Imaging by Stimulated Emission Microscopy. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1346869.
Xie, Xiaoliang Sunney. SISGR: Room Temperature Single-Molecule Detection and Imaging by Stimulated Emission Microscopy. United States. doi:10.2172/1346869.
Xie, Xiaoliang Sunney. Mon . "SISGR: Room Temperature Single-Molecule Detection and Imaging by Stimulated Emission Microscopy". United States. doi:10.2172/1346869. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1346869.
@article{osti_1346869,
title = {SISGR: Room Temperature Single-Molecule Detection and Imaging by Stimulated Emission Microscopy},
author = {Xie, Xiaoliang Sunney},
abstractNote = {Single-molecule spectroscopy has made considerable impact on many disciplines including chemistry, physics, and biology. To date, most single-molecule spectroscopy work is accomplished by detecting fluorescence. On the other hand, many naturally occurring chromophores, such as retinal, hemoglobin and cytochromes, do not have detectable fluorescence. There is an emerging need for single-molecule spectroscopy techniques that do not require fluorescence. In the last proposal period, we have successfully demonstrated stimulated emission microscopy, single molecule absorption, and stimulated Raman microscopy based on a high-frequency modulation transfer technique. These first-of-a- kind new spectroscopy/microscopy methods tremendously improved our ability to observe molecules that fluorescence weakly, even to the limit of single molecule detection for absorption measurement. All of these methods employ two laser beams: one (pump beam) excites a single molecule to a real or virtual excited state, and the other (probe beam) monitors the absorption/emission property of the single. We extract the intensity change of the probe beam with high sensitivity by implementing a high-frequency phase-sensitive detection scheme, which offers orders of magnitude improvement in detection sensitivity over direct absorption/emission measurement. However, single molecule detection based on fluorescence or absorption is fundamentally limited due to their broad spectral response. It is important to explore other avenues in single molecule detection and imaging which provides higher molecular specificity for studying a wide variety of heterogeneous chemical and biological systems. This proposal aimed to achieve single-molecule detection sensitivity with near resonance stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscopy. SRS microscopy was developed in our lab as a powerful technique for imaging heterogeneous samples based on their intrinsic vibrational contrasts, which provides much higher molecular specificity than absorption and fluorescence. Current sensitivity limit of SRS microscopy has not yet reached single molecule detection. We proposed to capitalize on our state-of-the-art SRS microscopy and develop near-resonance enhanced SRS for single molecule detection of carotenoids and heme proteins. The specific aims we pursued are: (1) building the next SRS generation microscope that utilizes near resonance enhancement to allow detection and imaging of single molecules with undetectable fluorescence, such as -carotene. (2) using near-resonance SRS as a contrast mechanism to study dye-sensitize semiconductor interface, elucidating the heterogeneous electron ejection kinetics with high spatial and temporal resolution. (3) studying the binding and unbinding of oxygen in single hemoglobin molecules in order to gain molecular level understanding of the long-standing issue of cooperativity. The new methods developed in the fund period of this grant have advanced the detection sensitivity in many aspects. Near-resonance SRS improved the signal by using shorter wavelengths for SRS microscopy. Frequency modulation and multi-color SRS target the reduction of background to improve the chemical specificity of SRS while maintaining the high imaging speed. Time-domain coherent Raman scattering microscopy targets to reduce the noise floor of coherent Raman microscopy. These methods have already demonstrated first-of-a-kind new applications in biology and medical research. However, we are still one order of magnitude away from single molecule limit. It is important to continue to improve the laser specification and develop new imaging methods to finally achieve label-free single molecule microscopy.},
doi = {10.2172/1346869},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Mar 13 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Mon Mar 13 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

Technical Report:

Save / Share:
  • Microscopy techniques co-opted from nonlinear optics and high energy physics have complemented solid-state probes in elucidating the order manifest in condensed matter materials. Up until now, however, no attempts have been made to use modern techniques of ultracold atomic physics to directly explore properties of strongly correlated or topologically protected materials. Our current program is focused on introducing a novel magnetic field microscopy technique into the toolbox of imaging probes. Our prior DOE ESPM program funded the development of a novel instrument using a dilute gas Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) as a scanning probe capable of measuring tiny magnetic (and electric)more » DC and AC fields above materials. We successfully built the world's first “scanning cryogenic atom chip microscope” [1], and we now are in the process of characterizing its performance before using the instrument to take the first wide-area images of transport flow within unconventional superconductors, pnictides and oxide interfaces (LAO/STO), topological insulators, and colossal magnetoresistive manganites. We will do so at temperatures outside the capability of scanning SQUIDs, with ~10x better resolution and without 1/f-noise. A notable goal will be to measure the surface-to-bulk conductivity ratio in topological insulators in a relatively model-independent fashion [2]. We have completed the construction of this magnetic microscope, shown in Figure 1. The instrument uses atom chips—substrates supporting micron-sized current-carrying wires that create magnetic microtraps near surfaces for ultracold thermal gases and BECs—to enable single-shot and raster-scanned large-field-of-view detection of magnetic fields. The fields emanating from electronic transport may be detected at the 10-7 flux quantum (Φ0) level and below (see Fig. 2); that is, few to sub-micron resolution of sub-nanotesla fields over single-shot, millimeter-long detection lengths. By harnessing the extreme sensitivity of atomic clocks and BECs to external perturbations, we are now in a position to use atom chips for imaging transport in new regimes. Scanning quantum gas atom chip microscopy introduces three very important features to the toolbox of high-resolution scanning microscopy of strongly correlated or topological materials: simultaneous detection of magnetic and electric fields (down to the sub-single electron charge level [3,4]; no invasive large magnetic fields or gradients; simultaneous micro- and macroscopic spatial resolution; DC to MHz detection bandwidth; freedom from 1/f flicker noise at low frequencies; and, perhaps most importantly, the complete decoupling of probe and sample temperatures. The atom chip microscope can operate at maximum sensitivity and resolution without regard to the substrate temperature. While the BEC is among the coldest objects realizable (100 nK temperatures are typical), the atom chip substrate can be positioned 1 μm away from the BEC and be as hot as 400 K or as cold as the cryostat can cool. This is because unlike superconducting probes, whose temperature is closely coupled to nearby materials, quantum gases are immune to radiative heating. The energy gap between a Rb atom’s ground state and first excited state far exceeds the typical energy of room-temperature blackbody radiation; such atoms are therefore transparent to radiation heating by materials at room temperature or below. We experimentally demonstrated a new atom chip trapping system that allows the placement and high-resolution imaging of ultracold atoms within microns from any ≤100 μm-thin, UHV-compatible material, while also allowing sample exchange with minimal experimental downtime [1]. The sample is not connected to the atom chip, allowing rapid exchange without perturbing the atom chip or laser cooling apparatus. Exchange of the sample and retrapping of atoms has been performed within a week turnaround, limited only by chamber baking. Moreover, the decoupling of sample and atom chip provides the ability to independently tune the sample temperature and its position with respect to the trapped ultracold gas, which itself may remain in the focus of a high-resolution imaging system. See Fig. 3. We confine 100-nK BECs of 104 87Rb atoms near a gold-mirrored 100-μm-thick silicon substrate. The substrate can be cooled to 35 K without use of a heat shield, while the atom chip, 120-μm away, remains at room temperature. Atoms may be imaged with 1-μm resolution and retrapped every 16 s, allowing rapid data collection. Straightforward improvements will allow us to push sample temperatures close to 4 K, and improve imaging resolution from 1 μm down to a few-100 nm, thereby providing 10-9 Φ0 detection sensitivity. We will test the utility of this technique by imaging the magnetic fields emanating from electronic transport and domain percolation in several interesting examples of strongly correlated or topologically protected materials. STM, transport, and x-ray scattering experiments have, among others, revealed the existence of a quantum liquid crystal state in iron (pnictide) and cuprate superconductors. This strongly correlated state of matter could also be detected by imaging the fluctuating transport (spatially and in time) of electrons as the phase/regime boundary is crossed between the pnictide non-Fermi liquid (cuprate strange metal) and the pnictide magnetic phase (cuprate pseudogap regime). Our ability to image wide-area inhomogeneous current flow from room-temperature to <10 K will allow us to study the developing domain structure and transport near twin boundary interfaces through the TN~50-150 K nematic transition recently identified in bulk transport experiments by Ian Fisher's group in underdoped Fe-arsinide superconductors [6]. Again, this highlights a main feature of our cryogenic atom chip microscope: the ability to image transport regardless of the sample temperature since the BEC, at nK temperatures, is transparent to blackbody radiation, even when held a microns from the surface. References: 3) S. Aigner et al., Long-range order in electronic transport through disordered metal films, Science 319 319 (2008). 4) S. Wildermuth, et al. Sensing electric and magnetic fields with Bose-Einstein condensates, Appl. Phys. Lett. 88, 264103 (2006). 5) M. Lu, N. Q. Burdick, S.-H. Youn, and B. L. Lev, Strongly Dipolar Bose-Einstein Condensate of Dysprosium, PRL 107, 190401 (2011). 6) J.-H. Chu, J. Analytis, K. De Greve, P. Mcmahon, A. Islam, Y. Yamamoto, and I. Fisher, In-Plane Resistivity Anisotropy in an Underdoped Iron Arsenide Superconductor, Science 329, 824 (2010). Publications: 1) M. A. Naides, R. W. Turner, R. A. Lai, J. M. DiSciacca, and B. L. Lev, Trapping ultracold gases near cryogenic materials with rapid reconfigurability, Applied Physics Letters 103, 251112 (2013). 2) B. Dellabetta, T. L. Hughes, M. J. Gilbert, and B. L. Lev, Imaging topologically protected transport with quantum degenerate gases, Phys. Rev. B 85, 205442 (2012).« less
  • The Northwestern-Argonne SISGR program utilized newly developed instrumentation and techniques including integrated ultra-high vacuum tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy/scanning tunneling microscopy (UHV-TERS/STM) and surface-enhanced femtosecond stimulated Raman scattering (SE-FSRS) to advance the spatial and temporal resolution of chemical imaging for the study of photoinduced dynamics of molecules on plasmonically active surfaces. An accompanying theory program addressed modeling of charge transfer processes using constrained density functional theory (DFT) in addition to modeling of SE-FSRS, thereby providing a detailed description of the excited state dynamics. This interdisciplinary and highly collaborative research resulted in 62 publications with ~ 48% of them being co-authored by multiplemore » SISGR team members. A summary of the scientific accomplishments from this SISGR program is provided in this final technical report.« less
  • The objective of this research is to synthesize core-shell nano-structured metal oxide materials and investigate their structural, electronic and optical properties to understand the microscopic pathways governing the energy conversion process, thereby controlling and improving their efficiency. Specifically, the goal is to use a single metal oxide core-shell nanostructure and a single excitation source to generate photons with long emission lifetime over the entire visible spectrum and when controlled at the right ratio, generating white light. In order to achieve this goal, we need to control the energy transfer between light emitting elements, which dictates the control of their interatomicmore » spacing and spatial distribution. We developed an economical wet chemical process to form the nanostructured core and to control the thickness and composition of the shell layers. With the help from using DOE funded synchrotron radiation facility, we delineated the growth mechanism of the nano-structured core and the shell layers, thereby enhancing our understanding of structure-property relation in these materials. Using the upconversion luminescence and the lifetime measurements as effective feedback to materials sysnthes is and integration, we demonstrated improved luminescence lifetimes of the core-shell nano-structures and quantified the optimal core-multi-shell structure with optimum shell thickness and composition. We developed a rare-earths co-doped LaPO 4 core-multishell structure in order to produce a single white light source. It was decided that the mutli-shell method would produce the largest increase in luminescence efficiency while limiting any energy transfer that may occur between the dopant ions. All samples resulted in emission spectra within the accepted range of white light generation based on the converted CIE color coordinates. The white light obtained varied between warm and cool white depending on the layering architecture, allowing for the utilization into a wide range of applications. With DOE’s overall mandate to reduce the US’s dependence on rare-earth elements, this work demonstrated how to make every RE atom count toward white light generation by controlling their spatial distribution thereby significantly reducing the amount needed. This is one approach toward reducing the dependence on RE elements and the strategies we developed can be used in discovering RE-free systems. The project is of benefit to the general public as it improves the optical efficiency of these materials, while reducing US’s dependence on RE elements.« less
  • Our original proposal was presented to the LDRD committee on February 18, 1999. The revised proposal that followed incorporated changes that addressed the issues, concerns, and suggestions put forth by the committee members both during the presentation and in subsequent discussions we've had with individual committee members. The goal of the proposal was to establish an SMD confocal microscopy capability and technology base at LLNL. Here we report on our progress during the 6-month period for which funding was available.
  • The main goal of this project is to gain fundamental knowledge about the relation between surface composition and catalytic performance of Pt alloy catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). Specific objectives are: to develop and improve a first-principles based multiscale computation approach to simulating surface segregation phenomena in Pt alloy surfaces; to evaluate the surface electronic structure and catalytic activity of Pt alloy catalysts and; to relate the surface composition to the catalytic performance of Pt alloy catalysts.