We have created a nanostructure substrate on which three-dimensional confocal fluorescence cell-imaging sensitivity is amplified for cell membrane and cytoplasm. The nanostructure substrate was fabricated using a plasma etching technique to create a randomized array of nano-pillars. Confocal fluorescence imaging of Chinese Hamster Ovarian cells showed at least 10x enhancement of fluorescence signal from labeled cell membrane and cell cytoplasm compared to traditional glass slide. The observed enhancement may be due to enhanced scattering from the nanostructures and the excitation of localized surface plasmon. Additional fluorescence labels and cell types are under investigation for fluorescence enhancement.
Austin Yin Kyai Hsiao is a graduate student in the Bioengineering Department and a research assistant in Professor Logan Liu's group in the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory. He is currently developing a microfluidic platform for cell toxicity screening and exploring a new imaging technique for fluorescent enhancement in biological studies. Austin emigrated from Burma (Myanmar) when he was ten years old and is currently working to earn the first PhD in his family. Outside of research, he is a volunteer coordinator and the newsletter editor for the Wesley Evening Food Pantry, which serves over 10,000 people annually from Urbana-Champaign community.
From Hsiao's M-CNTC page
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1000 MNTL, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL