Imaging cervical cytology with scanning near-field optical microscopy (SNOM) coupled with an IR-FEL

Halliwell, Diane, Medeiros-De-morais, Camilo De lelis orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2573-787X, Lima, Kassio Michell Gomes De, Trevisan, Julio, Siggel-King, Michele R. F., Craig, Tim, Ingham, James, Martin, David S., Heys, Kelly et al (2016) Imaging cervical cytology with scanning near-field optical microscopy (SNOM) coupled with an IR-FEL. Scientific Reports, 6 (29494). ISSN 2045-2322

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Cervical cancer remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality among women, especially in the developing world. Increased synthesis of proteins, lipids and nucleic acids is a pre-condition for the rapid proliferation of cancer cells. We show that scanning near-field optical microscopy, in combination with an infrared free electron laser (SNOM-IR-FEL), is able to distinguish between normal and squamous low-grade and high-grade dyskaryosis, and between normal and mixed squamous/glandular pre-invasive and adenocarcinoma cervical lesions, at designated wavelengths associated with DNA, Amide I/II and lipids. These findings evidence the promise of the SNOM-IR-FEL technique in obtaining chemical information relevant to the detection of cervical cell abnormalities and cancer diagnosis at spatial resolutions below the diffraction limit (?0.2 \ensuremathμm). We compare these results with analyses following attenuated total reflection Fourier-transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy; although this latter approach has been demonstrated to detect underlying cervical atypia missed by conventional cytology, it is limited by a spatial resolution of ~3 \ensuremathμm to 30 \ensuremathμm due to the optical diffraction limit.

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