Sensitivity of Interferometric Cross-Polarization Microscopy for Nanoparticle Detection in the Near-Infrared

Benjamin T. Miles, Elizabeth C. Robinson, Erik M.H.P. van Dijk, Ian D. Lindsay, Niek F. van Hulst, Henkjan Gersen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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We address the sensitivity of Interferometric Cross-Polarization Microscopy by comparing scattering and absorption by spherical 10 nm nanoparticles through a combination of modeling and experiment. We show that orthogonality of light in the two polarization branches of Cross-Polarization Microscopy ensures that only light that has interacted with a nanoparticle is interferometrically enhanced. As a result background-free shot noise-limited detection is achieved for sub-μW optical powers at the sample. Our modeling in particular shows that in the near-infrared regime, above the plasmon resonance frequency of spherical nanoparticles, the cross-polarization approach is several orders of magnitude more sensitive than conventional extinction based detection. This enhanced near-infrared sensitivity for spherical nanoparticles is promising for applications requiring low absorption and low power imaging of nanoparticles in cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1705-1711
Number of pages7
JournalACS photonics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2015


  • Background free detection
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Cross-polarization imaging
  • Detection sensitivity
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Mie scattering
  • Nanoparticle detection
  • n/a OA procedure

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