The application of continuous laser (coherent) light onto cells or tissue without the addition of any reporter molecules results in a high level of contrast from scattering events. Raman spectroscopy measures the inelastic scattering of light due to vibrational excitations of molecular bonds. Since the energy of the vibrational interaction is specific to the type of bond being excited, Raman spectra provide a chemical “fingerprint” of the material being studied. For biomedical imaging, Raman spectra provide insight into the composition of cells and tissues, including their lipid, protein and DNA content, as well as chemical modifications of these molecules occurring in response to oxidative stress and chemotherapy. Studies of living cells are enabled by imaging chambers that maintain temperature, humidity and atmosphere compatible with cell culture. The potential of phase and polarisation dependent contrast is also being explored.
Dr James Joseph, Fiona Morgan, Dr Jakub Surmacki, Dale Waterhouse, Ben Woodhams.
Dr George Gordon, Prof. Tim Wilkinson, Prof. Ian White (Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge); Dr Lexi Haslehurst, Prof. Bruce Ponder (CRUK CI/ Department of Oncology, University of Cambridge).