Letter | Published:

Imaging nanoparticles in cells by nanomechanical holography

Nature Nanotechnology volume 3, pages 501505 (2008) | Download Citation

Abstract

Nanomaterials have potential medical applications, for example in the area of drug delivery, and their possible adverse effects and cytotoxicity are curently receiving attention1,2. Inhalation of nanoparticles is of great concern, because nanoparticles can be easily aerosolized. Imaging techniques that can visualize local populations of nanoparticles at nanometre resolution within the structures of cells are therefore important3. Here we show that cells obtained from mice exposed to single-walled carbon nanohorns can be probed using a scanning probe microscopy technique called scanning near field ultrasonic holography. The nanohorns were observed inside the cells, and this was further confirmed using micro Raman spectroscopy. Scanning near field ultrasonic holography is a useful technique for probing the interactions of engineered nanomaterials in biological systems, which will greatly benefit areas in drug delivery and nanotoxicology.

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Acknowledgements

This research was sponsored in part by the ORNL BioEnergy Science Center. The BioEnergy Science Center is a U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Center supported by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in the DOE Office of Science. We are indebted to W. Wang and B. Gu for help with Raman spectroscopy, M. Su and Z. Hu for help with imaging setups, D. B. Geohegan and B. Zhao of ORNL for supplying pluronic coated SWCNHs, and D. Glass for help with animal experiments. We are grateful to V. Castranova at NIOSH for training with the pharyngeal aspiration and BAL techniques. ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for the U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Biosciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, USA

    • Laurene Tetard
    • , Ali Passian
    • , Katherine T. Venmar
    • , Rachel M. Lynch
    • , Brynn H. Voy
    •  & Thomas Thundat
  2. Department of Physics, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-1200, USA

    • Laurene Tetard
    • , Ali Passian
    •  & Thomas Thundat
  3. Materials Science & Engineering department, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA

    • Gajendra Shekhawat
    •  & Vinayak P. Dravid

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Contributions

L.T. and K.T.V. performed the experiments under the guidance of A.P. and T.T. R.M.L. and B.H.V. prepared the samples from the mice. L.T., A.P., K.T.V., B.H.V. and T.T. wrote the manuscript. L.T., A.P. and T.T. carried out revisions of the manuscript. T.T., L.T. and A.P. conceived the experiments. G.S. and V.P.D. helped with the initial assembling of the SNFUH.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ali Passian.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2008.162

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