Single-particle vibrational spectroscopy using optical microresonators
preprintposted on 2023-05-25, 16:01 authored by Shui-Jing Tang, Mingjie Zhang, Jialve Sun, Jia-Wei Meng, Xiao Xiong, Qihuang Gong, Dayong Jin, Qi-Fan Yang, Yun-Feng Xiao
Vibrational spectroscopy is a ubiquitous technology that derives the species, constituents, and morphology of an object from its natural vibrations. However, the vibrational spectra of mesoscopic particles - including most biological cells - have remained hidden from existing technologies. These particles are expected to vibrate faintly at megahertz to gigahertz rates, imposing unpractical sensitivity and resolution for current optical and piezoelectric spectroscopy. Here we demonstrate the real-time measurement of natural vibrations of single mesoscopic particles using an optical microresonator, extending the reach of vibrational spectroscopy to a new spectral window. Conceptually, a spectrum of vibrational modes of the particles is stimulated photoacoustically, and correlated to a high-quality-factor optical resonance for the ultrasensitive readout. Experimentally, this scheme is testified by measuring mesoscopic particles with different constituents, sizes, and internal structures, showing an unprecedented signal-to-noise ratio of 50 dB and detection bandwidth over 1 GHz. This new technology is further applied for the biomechanical fingerprinting of single microbial cells with different species and living states. The present method opens up new avenues to study single-particle mechanical properties in vibrational degrees of freedom, and may find applications in photoacoustic sensing and imaging, cavity optomechanics and biomechanics.