Researchers at the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Russia) and international colleagues have proposed an original approach to nanoscale 3-D analysis of materials. Their results are published in Ultramicroscopy.
The authors combined all the advantages of several modern approaches to nanoscale measurements in one unit: scanning probe microscopy (analysis of surface and physical parameters of the object), optical microspectroscopy (chemical mapping and determining the optical properties) and nanotomography (accurate 3-D visualization of the internal structure of the object based on the plurality of x-ray images). This combination of methods creates high-quality 3-D nanoscale images of a material to register the spatial distribution of its mechanical, electrical, optical and chemical properties (e.g. elasticity, conductivity, magnetization).
The researchers successfully tested their device in a comprehensive study of fluorescent-labeled polymer microspheres used in modern immunodiagnostics, both for multiparameter detection of markers of various diseases and personalized medicine for the detection of rare events such as the development of circulating cancer cells and micrometastases.
Professor Igor Nabiev said, "This instrumental approach retains all the advantages of scanning microscopy and optical microspectroscopy, allowing us to obtain multi-parametric 3-D features with the effective combination of both methods. The results of the study can be used for successful conversion of analysis data from 2-D to 3-D using most methods of optical probe nanoscopy implemented with modern high-resolution devices."
This development can be used for comprehensive analysis of biological samples. In addition, it opens new possibilities for quality control in the creation of defect-free nanomaterials, systems for targeted delivery of drugs using nano-sized "containers," and also to solve nanosafety problems and associated challenges of determining nanoparticle penetration in organs and tissues of a living organism.
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Konstantin E. Mochalov et al. An instrumental approach to combining confocal microspectroscopy and 3D scanning probe nanotomography, Ultramicroscopy (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.ultramic.2017.06.022