Applications of Laser Light Scattering to Biological Systems

  • Martin W. Steer
Part of the NATO Advanced Science Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 59)


I am going to examine the general problems facing biologists who wish to investigate cellular activity using LLS. The physical principles have already been discussed by Degiorgio1 and it is clear that LLS techniques can provide a measure of diffusional and translational movement in vitro. Extension of these techniques from simple homogenous test systems to complex heterogenous biological systems provides a major challenge to the exponents of this technique. The laser light signals from such systems are very complex and cannot readily be analysed by conventional means. Even when the individual components have been characterised according to their physical parameters we are still left with the problem of assigning each to a specific cell structure and activity. While I am not competent to offer or discuss new methods of signal analysis, I am going to suggest a number of approaches that may be usefully adopted to simplify this complex situation. These will be considered separately, although it is apparent that a combination of all will improve the changes of success. We will conclude that a successful study of cellular systems by LLS will depend on finding methods for isolating and quantifying specific scattered light signals, from within the total signal generated by the system, and on the selection of specific cellular systems that are dominated by only a very limited number of activities, contributing a very large proportion of the total signal.


Numerical Density Laser Light Scattering Cytoplasmic Streaming Scattered Light Signal Biologist Demand 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin W. Steer
    • 1
  1. 1.Botany DepartmentThe Queen’s University of BelfastNorthern Ireland

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