A form of microscopy that utilizes a photonic crystal biosensor surface as a substrate for cell attachment enables label-free, quantitative, submicron resolution, time-resolved imaging of cell-surface interactions without cytotoxic staining agents or temporally-unstable fluorophores. Other forms of microscopy do not provide this direct measurement of live cell-surface attachment localization and strength that includes unique, dynamic morphological signatures critical to the investigation of important biological phenomena such as stem cell differentiation, chemotaxis, apoptosis, and metastasis. Here, we introduce Photonic Crystal Enhanced Microscopy (PCEM), and apply it to the study of murine dental stem cells to image the evolution of cell attachment and morphology during chemotaxis and drug-induced apoptosis. PCEM provides rich, dynamic information about the evolution of cell-surface attachment profiles over biologically relevant time-scales. Critically, this method retains the ability to monitor cell behavior with spatial resolution sufficient for observing both attachment footprints of filopodial extensions and intracellular attachment strength gradients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5886-5894
Number of pages9
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 21 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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