Tracking nanoparticles optically to study their interaction with cells

  • Jean-Michel Gineste
  • Peter Macko
  • Eann PattersonEmail author
  • Maurice Whelan
Conference paper
Part of the Conference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series book series (CPSEMS)


Nanoparticles are by definition too small to be visible in an optical microscope and devices such as scanning electron microscopes must be used to resolve them. However electron beams quickly lead to cell death and so it is difficult to study the interaction of nanoparticles with living cells in order to establish whether such interactions could be damaging to the cell. A simple modification to a conventional inverted optical microscope is proposed here which renders the location of nanoparticles readily apparent and permits tracking of them in threedimensions. Particles in the range 100nm to 500nm have been tracked with a temporal resolution of 200ms. The technique, although motivated by the desire to study the interaction of nanoparticles with cells, has a wide range of potential applications in the fields of food processing, pharmaceuticals and nano-biotechnology.


Particle Image Velocimetry Experimental Mechanics Diffraction Effect Piezo Actuator 500nm Particle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Xu, C.S., Cang, H., Montiel, D., Yang, H., Rapid & quantitative sizing of nanoparticles using three-dimensional single particle tracking, J Phys. Chem., 111:32–35, 2007Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Louit, G., Asahi, T., Tanaka, G., Uwada, T., Masuhara, H., Spectral and 3-Dimensional tracking of single gold nanoparticles in living cells studied by Rayleigh light scattering microscopy, J Phys. Chem. C.,113:11766–11772, 2009.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lasne, D., Blab, G.A., Berciaud, S., Heine, M., Groc, L., Choquet, D., Cognet, L., Lounis, B., Single nanoparticle photothermal tracking (SNaPT) of 5-nm gold beads in live cells, Biophysical Journal, 91:4598–4604, 2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ovryn, B., Three-dimensional forward scattering particle image velocimetry applied to a microscope field-ofview, Experiments in Fluids [Suppl.], S175-184, 2000.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Guerrero-Viramontes, J.A., Moreno-Hernandez, Mendoza-Santoyo, F., Funes-Gallanzi, M., 3D particle positioning from CCD images using the generalised Lorenz-Mie and Huygens-Fresnel theories, Meas.Sci. Technol., 17:2328–2334, 2006.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Toprak, E., Balci, H., Blehm, B.H., Selvin, P.R., ‘Three dimensional particle tracking via bifocal imaging’, Nano Letters, 7(7):2043–2045, 2007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Patterson, E.A., Whelan, M.P., Tracking nanoparticles in an optical microscope using caustics, Nanotechnology, 19:105502, 2008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Patterson, E.A., Whelan, M.P., Optical signatures of small nanoparticles in a conventional microscope. Small, 4(10):1703–1706, 2008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Michel Gineste
    • 1
  • Peter Macko
    • 1
  • Eann Patterson
    • 2
    Email author
  • Maurice Whelan
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Health and Consumer ProtectionEuropean Commission DG Joint Research CentreIspraItaly
  2. 2.Composite Vehicle Research CenterMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

Personalised recommendations