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Concept: Scattering


Multiple scattering limits the contrast in optical imaging of thick specimens. Here, we present gradient light interference microscopy (GLIM) to extract three-dimensional information from both thin and thick unlabeled specimens. GLIM exploits a special case of low-coherence interferometry to extract phase information from the specimen, which in turn can be used to measure cell mass, volume, surface area, and their evolutions in time. Because it combines multiple intensity images that correspond to controlled phase shifts between two interfering waves, gradient light interference microscopy is capable of suppressing the incoherent background due to multiple scattering. GLIM can potentially become a valuable tool for in vitro fertilization, where contrast agents and fluorophores may impact the viability of the embryo. Since GLIM is implemented as an add-on module to an existing inverted microscope, we anticipate that it will be adopted rapidly by the biological community.Challenges in biological imaging include labeling, photobleaching and phototoxicity, as well as light scattering. Here, Nguyen et al. develop a quantitative phase method that uses low-coherence interferometry for label-free 3D imaging in scattering tissue.

Concepts: Biology, Optics, Medical imaging, Scattering, In vitro fertilisation, Wave, Phase, Interference


Scanning small and wide angle X-ray scattering (scanning SWAXS) experiments were performed on healthy and pathologic human bone sections. Via crystallographic tools the data were transformed into quantitative images and as such compared with circularly polarized light (CPL) microscopy images. SWAXS and CPL images allowed extracting information of the mineral nanocrystalline phase embedded, with and without preferred orientation, in the collagen fibrils, mapping local changes at sub-osteon resolution. This favorable combination has been applied for the first time to biopsies of dwarfism syndrome and Paget’s disease to shed light onto the cortical structure of natural bone in healthy and pathologic sections.

Concepts: Optics, Electromagnetic radiation, Scattering, X-ray crystallography, Polarization, Circular polarization, Linear polarization


Resveratrol (3,5,4'-trihydroxy-trans-stilbene) is a polyphenol found in various plants, especially in the skin of red grapes. The effect of resveratrol on human health is the topic of numerous studies. In fact this molecule has shown anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, blood-sugar-lowering ability and beneficial cardiovascular effects. However, for many polyphenol compounds of natural origin bioavailability is limited by low solubility in biological fluids, as well as by rapid metabolization in vivo. Therefore, appropriate carriers are required to obtain efficient therapeutics along with low administration doses.Liposomes are excellent candidates for drug delivery purposes, due to their biocompatibility, wide choice of physico-chemical properties and easy preparation.In this paper liposome formulations made by a saturated phosphatidyl-choline (DPPC) and cholesterol (or its positively charged derivative DC-CHOL) were chosen to optimize the loading of a rigid hydrophobic molecule such as resveratrol.Plain and resveratrol loaded liposomes were characterized for size, surface charge and structural details by complementary techniques, i.e. Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS), Zeta potential and Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS). Nuclear and Electron Spin magnetic resonances (NMR and ESR, respectively) were also used to gain information at the molecular scale.The obtained results allowed to give an account of loaded liposomes in which resveratrol interacted with the bilayer, being more deeply inserted in cationic liposomes than in zwitterionic liposomes. Relevant properties such as the mean size and the presence of oligolamellar structures were influenced by the loading of RESV guest molecules.The toxicity of all these systems was tested on stabilized cell lines (mouse fibroblast NIH-3T3 and human astrocytes U373-MG), showing that cell viability was not affected by the administration of liposomial resveratrol.

Concepts: Electron, Electric charge, Molecule, Scattering, Resveratrol, Polyphenol antioxidant, Polyphenol, Dynamic light scattering


Phononic and magnonic dispersions of a linear array of periodic alternating Ni80Fe20 and bottom anti-reflective coating nanostripes on a Si substrate have been measured using Brillouin light scattering. The observed phononic gaps are considerably larger than those of laterally patterned multi-component crystals previously reported, mainly a consequence of the high elastic and density contrasts between the stripe materials. Additionally, the phonon hybridization bandgap has an unusual origin in the hybridization and avoided crossing of the zone-folded Rayleigh and pseudo-Sezawa waves. The magnonic band structure features near-dispersionless branches, with unusual vortex-like dynamic magnetization profiles, some of which lie below the highly-dispersive fundamental mode branch. Finite element calculations of the phononic and magnonic dispersions of the magphonic crystal accord well with experimental data.

Concepts: Fundamental physics concepts, Scattering, Solid, Raman scattering, 2006 albums, Glass, Band gap, Brillouin scattering


It is desirable to extend the surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) from the conventionally used visible range into the infrared region, because the fluorescence background is lower in the long-wavelength regime. To do this, it is important to have a SERS substrate suitable for infrared operation. In this work, we report the near infrared SERS operation based on the substrates employing star-shaped gold/silver nanoparticles and hyperbolic metamaterial (HMM) structure. We first fabricate the SERS substrate in which nanoparticles are separated from a silver film by a thin dielectric layer. Performance of the SERS substrate is investigated with a 1064-nm excitation source. Compared with similar silver film-based substrates employing respectively gold and silver spherical nanoparticles, it is found that, Raman intensity scattered by the substrate with star-shaped nanoparticles is 7.4 times stronger than that with gold nanoparticles, and 3.4 times stronger than that with silver nanoparticles. Following this, we fabricate the SERS substrate where the star-shaped nanoparticles are deposited over a HMM structure. The HMM structure comprises three pairs of germanium-silver multilayers. Further experimental result shows that, with the star-shaped nanoparticles, the HMM-based substrate yields 30% higher Raman intensity for near infrared SERS operation than the silver film-based substrate does.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Scattering, Gold, Raman spectroscopy, Raman scattering, Infrared spectroscopy, Infrared, Visible spectrum


Controlling and manipulating quanta of coherent acoustic vibrations-phonons-in integrated circuits has recently drawn a lot of attention, since phonons can function as unique links between radiofrequency and optical signals, allow access to quantum regimes and offer advanced signal processing capabilities. Recent approaches based on optomechanical resonators have achieved impressive quality factors allowing for storage of optical signals. However, so far these techniques have been limited in bandwidth and are incompatible with multi-wavelength operation. In this work, we experimentally demonstrate a coherent buffer in an integrated planar optical waveguide by transferring the optical information coherently to an acoustic hypersound wave. Optical information is extracted using the reverse process. These hypersound phonons have similar wavelengths as the optical photons but travel at five orders of magnitude lower velocity. We demonstrate the storage of phase and amplitude of optical information with gigahertz bandwidth and show operation at separate wavelengths with negligible cross-talk.Optical storage implementations based on optomechanical resonator are limited to one wavelength. Here, exploiting stimulated Brillouin scattering, the authors demonstrate a coherent optical memory based on a planar integrated waveguide, which can operate at different wavelengths without cross-talk.

Concepts: Photon, Quantum mechanics, Electromagnetic radiation, Scattering, Wavelength, Sound, Raman scattering, Brillouin scattering


Successful commercialization of wearable diagnostic sensors necessitates stability in detection of analytes over prolonged and continuous exposure to sweat. Challenges are primarily in ensuring target disease specific small analytes (i.e. metabolites, proteins, etc.) stability in complex sweat buffer with varying pH levels and composition over time. We present a facile approach to address these challenges using RTILs with antibody functionalized sensors on nanoporous, flexible polymer membranes. Temporal studies were performed using both infrared spectroscopic, dynamic light scattering, and impedimetric spectroscopy to demonstrate stability in detection of analytes, Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and Cortisol, from human sweat in RTILs. Temporal stability in sensor performance was performed as follows: (a) detection of target analytes after 0, 24, 48, 96, and 168 hours post-antibody sensor functionalization; and (b) continuous detection of target analytes post-antibody sensor functionalization. Limit of detection of IL-6 in human sweat was 0.2 pg/mL for 0-24 hours and 2 pg/mL for 24-48 hours post-antibody sensor functionalization. Continuous detection of IL-6 over 0.2-200 pg/mL in human sweat was demonstrated for a period of 10 hours post-antibody sensor functionalization. Furthermore, combinatorial detection of IL-6 and Cortisol in human sweat was established with minimal cross-talk for 0-48 hours post-antibody sensor functionalization.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Scattering, PH, Ionic liquid, Sensors, Light scattering, Dynamic light scattering, Rayleigh scattering


Nature provides a multitude of examples of multifunctional structural materials in which trade-offs are imposed by conflicting functional requirements. One such example is the biomineralized armor of the chiton Acanthopleura granulata, which incorporates an integrated sensory system that includes hundreds of eyes with aragonite-based lenses. We use optical experiments to demonstrate that these microscopic lenses are able to form images. Light scattering by the polycrystalline lenses is minimized by the use of relatively large, crystallographically aligned grains. Multiscale mechanical testing reveals that as the size, complexity, and functionality of the integrated sensory elements increase, the local mechanical performance of the armor decreases. However, A. granulata has evolved several strategies to compensate for its mechanical vulnerabilities to form a multipurpose system with co-optimized optical and structural functions.

Concepts: Function, Scattering, Visual perception, Visual system, Sensory system, Book of Optics, Chitonidae, Acanthopleura


Tactoids are nuclei of an orientationally ordered nematic phase that emerge upon cooling the isotropic phase. In addition to providing a natural setting for exploring chromonics under confinement, we show that tactoids can also serve as optical probes to delineate the role of temperature and concentration in the aggregation behavior of chromonics. For high concentrations, we observe the commonly reported elongated bipolar tactoids. As the concentration is lowered, breaking of achiral symmetry in the director configuration is observed with a predominance of twisted bipolar tactoids. On further reduction of concentration, a remarkable transformation of the director configuration occurs, wherein it conforms to a unique splay-minimizing configuration. Based on a simple model, we arrive at an interesting result that lower concentrations have longer aggregates at the same reduced temperature. Hence, the splay deformation that scales linearly with the aggregate length becomes prohibitive for lower concentrations and is relieved via twist and bend deformations in this unique configuration. Raman scattering measurements of the order parameters independently verify the trend in aggregate lengths and provide a physical picture of the nematic-biphasic transition.

Concepts: Fundamental physics concepts, Electrochemistry, Scattering, Aggregate, Aggregate data, Raman scattering, Liquid crystal, Phase diagram


Spider silks possess nature’s most exceptional mechanical properties, with unrivalled extensibility and high tensile strength. Unfortunately, our understanding of silks is limited because the complete elastic response has never been measured-leaving a stark lack of essential fundamental information. Using non-invasive, non-destructive Brillouin light scattering, we obtain the entire stiffness tensors (revealing negative Poisson’s ratios), refractive indices, and longitudinal and transverse sound velocities for major and minor ampullate spider silks: Argiope aurantia, Latrodectus hesperus, Nephila clavipes, Peucetia viridans. These results completely quantify the linear elastic response for all possible deformation modes, information unobtainable with traditional stress-strain tests. For completeness, we apply the principles of Brillouin imaging to spatially map the elastic stiffnesses on a spider web without deforming or disrupting the web in a non-invasive, non-contact measurement, finding variation among discrete fibres, junctions and glue spots. Finally, we provide the stiffness changes that occur with supercontraction.

Concepts: Scattering, Tensile strength, Young's modulus, Elasticity, Elastic modulus, Spider silk, Spider, Deformation