Prof. Snag-Hee Shim's research proposal(Minimal-label Super-reolved potical Imaging) awarded a grant from Samsung Science & Technology Foundation which is amimed at discovering and supporting promising scientists in four basic fields of science-physics, chemistry, bioscience and mathematics-and prominent leaders in such fields who are deemed Nobel-caliber scientists.
Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2014 was awarded to super-resolution fluorescence microscopy, which shattered the resolution limit of optical microscopy. Despite of its promising perspective for visualizing biomolecules at nanometer-scale resolutions in living cells, there remains the intrinsic limit of resolution due to the finite size and density of fluorescent probes.
Shim proposes ways to overcome the resolution limit of Raman imaging for achieving super-resolution optical microscopy of labels with minimal sizes. Her proposal utilizes spatiotemporal modulation of laser pulses and spectroscopic properties of vibrational probes. The proposed methods will be expanded for unprecedented super-resolution modalities of label-free imaging and all-optical correlative imaging. The developed imaging tool will be applied to study biomolecules that are impossible to study with fluorescence microscopy. Super-resolution Raman microscopy may offer nanometer-scale resolutions for studying the structural dynamics of biomolecules in live cells with minimal labeling artifact.
Most researchers in super-resolution microscopy focus on improving existing fluorescence method whose intrinsic resolution limit is set by probe size. The proposed method may overcome the label-limited resolution of super-resolution fluorescence microscopy, while keeping the benefits of molecular contrast and noninvasiveness.An ideal visualization tool for biomolecules would be able to visualize a specific molecule with no label.
Raman microscopy is a potential candidate for such a tool since Raman fingerprints have long been used as identification method for biomolecules. The proposed super-resolution method will lay a stepping stone for achieving label-free, molecular-specific, molecular-resolution imaging tool.