In the present study, the efficacy of multi-scale photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) was investigated to detect, map, and quantify trace amounts [nanograms (ng) to micrograms (µg)] of SWCNTs in a variety of histological tissue specimens consisting of cancer and benign tissue biopsies (histological specimens from implanted tissue engineering scaffolds).
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
Optical-resolution (OR) and acoustic-resolution (AR) – Photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) was employed to detect, map and quantify the SWCNTs in a variety of tissue histological specimens and compared with other optical techniques (bright-field optical microscopy, Raman microscopy, near infrared (NIR) fluorescence microscopy).
Both optical-resolution and acoustic-resolution PAM, allow the detection and quantification of SWCNTs in histological specimens with scalable spatial resolution and depth penetration. The noise-equivalent detection sensitivity to SWCNTs in the specimens was calculated to be as low as ∼7 pg. Image processing analysis further allowed the mapping, distribution, and quantification of the SWCNTs in the histological sections.
The results demonstrate the potential of PAM as a promising imaging technique to detect, map, and quantify SWCNTs in histological specimens, and could complement the capabilities of current optical and electron microscopy techniques in the analysis of histological specimens containing SWCNTs.