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Opt Express. 2008 Sep 29;16(20):16151-65.

Collagen and myosin characterization by orientation field second harmonic microscopy.

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Institut of Physics of Rennes IPR/UMR CNRS 6251, University of Rennes I, Campus deBeaulieu, Bat 11A, 35042 Rennes Cedex, France.


Collagen and myosin fibrils are endogenous harmonophores that both give rise to Second Harmonic Generation (SHG). By combining four polarization SHG images provided by a scanning microscope, we show that the orientation of the principal axis of the nonlinear susceptibility tensor chi(2) can be determined for each pixel of the image. The ratio rho = chi33/chi15 of the principal components of chi(2) of collagen and myosin was obtained with the same method, and found within the range 1.6-1.8 and 0.5-0.6 respectively. The orientation of the principal axis of chi(2) is shown to be correlated to the orientation of the fibrils themselves. This provides a straightforward method, which we call Orientation Field-Second Harmonic Microscopy (OF-SHM), to reconstruct orientation fields of fibrils at various scales and resolutions in different biological systems (from muscle sarcomere to the whole embryo).

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