Tomographic imaging and localisation of nanoparticles in tissue using surface enhanced spatially offset Raman spectroscopy

Berry, Matthew E. and McCabe, Samantha M. and Sloan-Dennison, Sian and Laing, Stacey and Shand, Neil C. and Graham, Duncan and Faulds, Karen (2022) Tomographic imaging and localisation of nanoparticles in tissue using surface enhanced spatially offset Raman spectroscopy. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 14 (28). pp. 31613-31624. ISSN 1944-8244 (

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A fundamental question crucial to surface-enhanced spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SESORS) imaging and implementing it in a clinical setting for in vivo diagnostic purposes is whether a SESORS image can be used to determine the exact location of an object within tissue? To address this question, multiple experimental factors pertaining to the optical setup in imaging experiments using an in-house-built point-collection-based spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS) system were investigated to determine those critical to the three-dimensional (3D) positioning capability of SESORS. Here, we report the effects of the spatial offset magnitude and geometry on locating nanoparticles (NPs) mixed with silica powder as an imaging target through tissue and outline experimental techniques to allow for the correct interpretation of SESORS images to ascertain the correct location of NPs in the two-dimensional x, y-imaging plane at depth. More specifically, the effect of "linear offset-induced image drag" is presented, which refers to a spatial distortion in SESORS images caused by the magnitude and direction of the linear offset and highlight the need for an annular SORS collection geometry during imaging to neutralize these asymmetric effects. Additionally, building on these principles, the concept of "ratiometric SESORS imaging" is introduced for the location of buried inclusions in three dimensions. Together these principles are vital in developing a methodology for the location of surface-enhanced Raman scattering-active inclusions in three dimensions. This approach utilizes the relationship between the magnitude of the spatial offset, the probed depth, and ratiometric analysis of the NP and tissue Raman intensities to ultimately image and spatially discriminate between two distinct NP flavors buried at different depths within a 3D model for the first time. This research demonstrates how to accurately identify multiple objects at depth in tissue and their location using SESORS which addresses a key capability in moving SESORS closer to use in biomedical applications.