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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Jun 8;96(12):6700-4.

Nonlinear optical measurement of membrane potential around single molecules at selected cellular sites.

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Division of Applied Physics, Center for Neural Computation, Department of Ophthalmology, Hadassah Laser Center, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.


Membrane potential around single molecules has been measured by using the nonlinear optical phenomenon of second harmonic generation. This advance results from the interaction between a highly dipolar molecule with a selectively directed highly polarizable 1-nm gold particle. With this approach, a second harmonic signal, which is enhanced by the nanoparticle, is detected from a volume of nanometric dimensions. This present work clearly shows that functional cellular imaging around single molecules is possible by selectively directing an antibody with a 1-nm gold label to a specific membrane protein. The results of this work open the way for three-dimensional, high resolution functional imaging of membrane electrophysiology in cells and cellular networks.

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