Surface plasmon-based infrared spectroscopy for cell biosensing

Victor Yashunsky*, Vladislav Lirtsman, Alexander Zilbershtein, Amir Bein, Betty Schwartz, Benjamin Aroeti, Michael Golosovsky, Dan Davidov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Cell morphology is often used as a valuable indicator of the physical condition and general status of living cells. We demonstrate a noninvasive method for morphological characterization of adherent cells. We measure infrared reflectivity spectrum at oblique angle from living cells cultured on thin Au film, and utilize the unique properties of the confined infrared waves (i.e., surface plasmon and guided modes) traveling inside the cell layer. The propagation of these waves strongly depends on cell morphology and connectivity. By tracking the resonant wavelength and attenuation of the surface plasmon and guided modes we measure the kinetics of various cellular processes such as (i) cell attachment and spreading on different substrata, (ii) modulation of the outer cell membrane with chlorpromazine, and (iii) formation of intercellular junctions associated with progressive cell polarization. Our method enables monitoring of submicron variations in cell layer morphology in real-time, and in the label-free manner.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number081409
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Biomedical optics
  • Infrared spectroscopy
  • Infrared surface plasmon
  • Label-free
  • Refractive index
  • Whole cell biosensor


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