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Millimeter-deep micron-resolution vibrational imaging by shortwave infrared photothermal microscopy
preprintposted on 2023-10-12, 16:01 authored by Hongli Ni, Yuhao Yuan, Mingsheng Li, Yifan Zhu, Xiaowei Ge, Chinmayee Prabhu Dessai, Le Wang, Ji-Xin Cheng
Deep-tissue chemical imaging plays a vital role in biological and medical applications. Here, we present a shortwave infrared photothermal (SWIP) microscope for millimeter-deep vibrational imaging with sub-micron lateral resolution and nanoparticle detection sensitivity. By pumping the overtone transition of carbon-hydrogen bonds and probing the subsequent photothermal lens with shortwave infrared light, SWIP can obtain chemical contrast from microparticles located millimeter-deep in a highly scattering phantom. By fast digitization on the optically probed signal, the amplitude of photothermal signal is shown to be 63 times larger than that of photoacoustic signal, thus enabling highly sensitive detection of nanoscale objects. SWIP can resolve the intracellular lipids across an intact tumor spheroid and the layered structure in millimeter-thick liver, skin, brain, and breast tissues. Together, SWIP microscopy fills a gap in vibrational imaging with sub-cellular resolution and millimeter-level penetration, which heralds broad potential for life science and clinical applications.