Plasmon-induced light concentration enhanced imaging visibility as observed by a composite-field microscopy imaging system†
The plasmon-induced light concentration (PILC) effect, which has been supposed to be responsible for lots of linear and nonlinear enhanced optical signals such as Raman and high-harmonic generation, is hard to directly observe. Herein, we developed a scattered light based composite-field microscopy imaging (iCFM) system by coupling the oblique and vertical illumination modes, which were adopted in dark- and bright-field microscopy imaging systems, respectively, and through which iCFM system monochromatic background (MCB) images are available, to directly observe the PILC effect in far-field scattering microscopy imaging. Owing to the PILC effect, the scattering signal gain of plasmonic nanoparticles was found to be larger than that of the background, and the imaging visibility of plasmonic nanoparticles was improved by 2.4-fold for silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) and 1.6-fold for gold nanorods (AuNRs). Successful observation of the PILC effect visually together with application in enhanced visibility in cancer cell imaging by this composite illumination system might open an exciting prospect of light scattering microscopy imaging techniques with largely increased visibility.