Real-Time Sensing of Cell Morphology by Infrared Waveguide Spectroscopy

Victor Yashunsky*, Tal Marciano, Vladislav Lirtsman, Michael Golosovsky, Dan Davidov, Benjamin Aroeti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We demonstrate that a live epithelial cell monolayer can act as a planar waveguide. Our infrared reflectivity measurements show that highly differentiated simple epithelial cells, which maintain tight intercellular connectivity, support efficient waveguiding of the infrared light in the spectral region of 1.4-2.5 μm and 3.5-4 μm. The wavelength and the magnitude of the waveguide mode resonances disclose quantitative dynamic information on cell height and cell-cell connectivity. To demonstrate this we show two experiments. In the first one we trace in real-time the kinetics of the disruption of cell-cell contacts induced by calcium depletion. In the second one we show that cell treatment with the PI3-kinase inhibitor LY294002 results in a progressive decrease in cell height without affecting intercellular connectivity. Our data suggest that infrared waveguide spectroscopy can be used as a novel bio-sensing approach for studying the morphology of epithelial cell sheets in real-time, label-free manner and with high spatial-temporal resolution.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere48454
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
StatePublished - 31 Oct 2012


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