Rabasovic MD, Sisamakis E, Wennmalm S, Widengren J
Chemphyschem 17 (7) 1025-1033 [2016-04-04; online 2016-01-29]
Nanoparticles (NPs) and molecules can be analyzed by inverse fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (iFCS) as they pass through an open detection volume, displacing fractions of the fluorescence-emitting solution in which they are dissolved. iFCS does not require the NPs or molecules to be labeled. However, fluorophores in μm-mm concentrations are needed for the solution signal. Here, we instead use coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) from plain water molecules as the signal from the solution. By this fully label-free approach, termed inverse CARS-based correlation spectroscopy (iCARS-CS), NPs that are a few tenths of nm in diameter and at pM concentrations can be analyzed, and their absolute volumes/concentrations can be determined. Likewise, lipid vesicles can be analyzed as they diffuse/flow through the detection volume by using CARS fluctuations from the surrounding water molecules. iCARS-CS could likely offer a broadly applicable, label-free characterization technique of, for example, NPs, small lipid exosomes, or microparticles in biomolecular diagnostics and screening, and can also utilize CARS signals from biologically relevant media other than water.