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Nano Lett. 2017 Dec 13;17(12):8018-8023. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b04651. Epub 2017 Dec 4.

Single-Cell Optical Distortion Correction and Label-Free 3D Cell Shape Reconstruction on Lattices of Nanostructures.

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Faculty of Physics and Center for NanoScience (CeNS), Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München , Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1, 80539 München, Germany.
Physics Department, Technische Universität München , 85748 Garching, Germany.


Imaging techniques can be compromised by aberrations. Especially when imaging through biological specimens, sample-induced distortions can limit localization accuracy. In particular, this phenomenon affects localization microscopy, traction force measurements, and single-particle tracking, which offer high-resolution insights into biological tissue. Here we present a method for quantifying and correcting the optical distortions induced by single, adherent, living cells. The technique uses periodically patterned gold nanostructures as a reference framework to quantify optically induced displacements with micrometer-scale sampling density and an accuracy of a few nanometers. The 3D cell shape and a simplified geometrical optics approach are then utilized to remap the microscope image. Our experiments reveal displacements of up to several hundred nanometers, and in corrected images these distortions are reduced by a factor of 3. Conversely, the relationship between cell shape and distortion provides a novel method of 3D cell shape reconstruction from a single image, enabling label-free 3D cell analysis.


Single cell imaging; localization accuracy; microstructures; optical distortions; surface reconstruction; three dimensional cell shape

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